Facing Israeli Army Mutiny, Defense Minister Calls to Halt Regime Change Agenda Yoav Gallant's dramatic call for Netanyahu to stop legislative coup
As over 600,000 Israelis marched in scores of cities throughout the country and in major world capitals, cracks began to form in the governing coalition. Facing near munity in the ranks of the IDF, defense minister Yoav Gallant called on Bibi Netanyahu to put a halt to the legislative steamroller being rammed through the Knesset. He did so in a dramatic national TV address, which was clearly intended as a shot across the prime minister’s bow.
Already, the ruling coalition passed a law legalizing five settlements Israel had promised George Bush would not be populated. It also passed a law removing the attorney general’s right to disqualify a prime minister convicted of a criminal offense. This will protect Netanyahu if he is convicted on any of the corruption charges he confronts in his current trial. As Opposition leader Benny Gantz said in a TV interview, there are dozens more pieces of legislation that will follow if the government continues this onslaught.
Regardless of Gallant’s political opinions about this agenda, as a former army general, he understands that Israel must have a cohesive fighting force. When there is munity within, the country cannot protect its citizens. Not to mention, that the IDF is most significant unifying institution in the country. It defines Israeli identity and most citizens serve in it. For many Israelis the army and the state are indistinguishable. For that reason, Gallant defines his allegiance to the state via the army. If the army is not with the government, then the latter cannot or should not function.
To clarify, I am defining Israeli reality as most Israelis see it, in the above paragraph, and not offering my own opinion, which is highly critical, as readers will know.
Two senior Likud MKs followed suit announcing support for Gallant. On the other side, a number of Netanyahu stalwarts denounced Gallant. Fascist firebrand, Itamar Ben Gvir, called for the PM to immediately fire him. I wouldn’t be surprised if tomorrow he calls for erecting a scaffold in Tel Aviv’s Kaplan Street and hanging Gallant by the neck till he is dead, as judges used to say in the old Hollywood westerns.
Netanyahu has two choices: he can accede to Gallant and declare a ceasefire. That would involve members of the governing coalition and opposition negotiating a compromise legislative agenda that would ensable some of the proposed “reforms,” while eliminating the most objectional ones. Even if he agreed to this option, these negotiations would have no guarantee of success, since the sides are so far apart.
Or Netanyahu can reject Gallant’s call and go full steam ahead, throwing in his lot with the radical elements of his coalition, the anti-democracy coup plotters, Yariv Levin and Simcha Rotman. As I wrote in a recent post, this will bring a confrontaton between the legisltiave and judicial branches of Israeli government. Until now, the Supreme Court has exerted limited powers compared to high courts in most democratic countries. But at least it could review legislation and declare it in violation of Israel’s quasi constitutional Basic Laws.
In that sense, the Court would take up the laws passed by the far-right governing coalition and likely strike down most, if not all of them. The legislative body really has very little recourse at that point. It cannot force the Court to arrive a different conclusion short of taking the justices out in the courtyard and offering them a choice between life or death. The Knesset has no enforcement provision that would enable it to override the Court. Thus, its edict will prevail.
It remains to be seen how the coup plotters will react. Perhaps after reading the decisions, they will water down or rephrase new proposed bills in the hope the justices will be willing to approve them. Since the Court is a right-wing institution, it remains possible that they will approve some of the current legislation; and improve even more if it is modified or recast.
That being said, the justices are political animals. Many, if not most of them understand which way the winds are blowing in the country. I doubt that they want to be the ones whose pictures are waved on banners amidst the throngs of protestors. They would prefer to compromise and approve just enough of the agenda, so as not to entirely antagonize the protest movement; without having to throw out the whole lot of the far-right agenda.
My guess is that Netanyahu, who is a master tactician who has outmanuveured many an opponent or rival, may use Gallant as a cudgel against his far-right mates and tell them that he has no choice but to compromise. The only thing the former cares about is his political survival. He doesn’t care about anyone, including his closest allies. If they stand in the way of his continuing in power, he would dump them in a heartbeat.
Further, in order to protect himself from prison, he must remain in power to pass legislation that will protect him. If the government falls, he will be politically naked. He needs a lifeline, and is pragmatic enough to understand this.
So far, things don’t look good. Netanyahu continues to offer a maximalist position. He refuses any compromise except on his terms. I don’t believe he can go on much longer like this. After Gallant, others will join in the chorus calling for a moratorium. Eventually a trickle will turn into a torrent.
12 thoughts on “Facing Israeli Army Mutiny, Defense Minister Calls to Halt Regime Change Agenda – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
Comments are published at the sole discretion of the owner.
An act that would rival Kevin Spacey as the aspiring (and then) US President in “House of Cards”.
When Trump and his supporters thought the election had been ‘stolen’, they attempted a coup d’etat.
BLM protests led to death and property damages at $1 billion.
Yet in Israel, with all her problems, these massive protests have been peaceful and orderly.
Whose democratic society is more coherent and hopeful? The United States, or Israel?
Physician. Heal thyself.-Luke 4:23.
Says the supremacist
Tell us all how many billions in damages/land theft etc your brothers, the scum-of-the=earth settlers have caused in the occupied West bank/East Jerusalem. All very democratically of course.
Your ‘democracy’ is on the road to nowhere. In actual fact your whole racist endeavor is heading for calamity.
quite an anti-semitic post “Tell us all how many billions in damages/land theft etc your brothers, the scum-of-the=earth”
@ arthur mandel: No Arthur, calling homicidal settlers “scum of the earth” is insulting to scum. Not at all anti-Semitic. If anything it’s the settlers who are anti-Semites. Their hatred for any Israeli Jew but their extremist brethren, makes them the anti-Semites.
They did indeed. The same exact MO as Kohelet & Tikvah. The difference is that the US has stronger democratic protections and checks & balances among the branches of government. That’s why Trump couldn’t mount a legislative coup d’etat. And rather had to resort to an armed insurrection.
That’s not only racist, it’s a crock of shit. Most of the violence was on the part of police, not protestors. I have no idea where your estimate of damages comes from. Nor do I care.
Another difference between BLM and the Israeli protests is that unlike Israel, we have a strong healthy history of resistance to tyranny. Jefferson said that the tree of liberty must be watered by the blood of patriots. He meant that not only figuratively, but literally. And we did so in our Civil War. 750,000 died in that war. The equivalent of 8-million or more today. Yet, at the end the Union and Confederacy reunited, slavery ended, Blacks won, then lost, then won again the right to vote.
Nevertheless, all of this violence doesn’t rend our society. It only makes it stronger and more resilient. It also, unlike Israel, leads to social change and improvement of social conditions. That is absolutely not the case in Israel because true democracy is neither practiced nor understood, except in a rudimentary way.
Tell it to the scores of protestors who’ve been beaten, trampled under horses hooves and maced. Not to mention imprisoned. I favor militant protest like blocking the Ayalon Highway. But what is “orderly” about that?
The only reason no one has died is that all the protestors are Jewish. If even 10% were Palestinians the gloves would be off. No holds barred.
The US by a landslide.
The police only killed one BLM protestor. All the other fatalities were civilian on civilian.
Regarding property damage at $ 1 billion.
“Nevertheless, all of this violence doesn’t rend our society.”
America is the most violent, gun-crazed Democracy on earth and young African American men are it’s most frequent victims. See, George Floyd, Trayvon Martin, Ahmaud Arbery, etc.
America is also the most politically polarized.
“That’s why Trump couldn’t mount a legislative coup d’etat. And rather had to resort to an armed insurrection ”
Trump’s legislative coup nearly succeeded. The coup hinged on the actions of VP Pence, and when Pence (uncharacteristically) disobeyed his master, Trump unleashed violence..
Trump, unlike Bibi, has yet to be indicted for any of his numerous crimes.
@ Pamela: I always find it interesting when right-wingers like you offer links to article which purport to support your views. But when I actually read them, the opposite is the case. So we’ll go through things step by step:
The police have killed thousands of Black people over the past decades. The article to which you linked revealed that of 25 people killed at BLM protests, 11 were killed by anti-BLM individuals by driving into crowds and firing guns.
And all that violence you claim happened? Not really. Again, from your article:
Um no. There are many countries far, far more violent than the US. And as for “gun-crazed,” tell it to Palestinians who have to confront gun-crazed settlers, soldiers and police. I’ve lived in this country for over 70 years. I’ve always opposed guns. But most Americans don’t own guns. Most of those who do are responsible gun owners.
Yup, they are most likely to be victims…of police and white supremacists and general racists. Their views and hate are problem. The guns are extensions of their hate.
I almost spat out my coffee at that one. America is the most polarized? If it is it’s because of right-wingers like you. It is the right that is the polarizing force in this country. And as for polarization, did you see those 600,000 protestors at 150 cities & towns in Israel this past weekend? Were they sipping tea? NO, they were protesting amidst the most polarizing political crisis that country has ever seen.
Umm, no again. There was never any chance or a single moment when Pence was going to acquiesce in the coup. The fact that their entire strategy hinged on a man who never was going to go along with their plot shows how insane the plan was. Trump’s insurrection was dead on arrival. It didn’t even come close to succeeding.
Bibi’s indictments took years. His trial will likely take as long. In the interim, he may spring himself from jail, or at least a criminal conviction…via a coup of course. As for Trump, he’s only been out of office for 3 yrs. Justice moves slowing in the US. His first indictment will come imminently from the NY DA. THen there will be likely charges from the NYS attorney general. Let’s not leave out the Justice Dept.
[comment deleted: I have already told you that you may publish ONE comment per thread. Respect this rule or you will not be permitted to comment at all.]
“The police only killed one BLM protestor”, prompting Richard to say…
“The police have killed thousands of Black people over the past decades”
Right. American police have killed thousands of Black people, but only one BLM protestor, he had a hammer, was shot and killed by police.
The issue isn’t systemic racism in America, but how peaceful are Israeli national protests in comparison to American national protests.
America, more democratic than Israel, “by a landslide”.
No American president has ever been charged criminally, whereas in Israel, two Prime Ministers have been indicted, one of whom was jailed along with an Israeli President.
BTW, how come Liam can post a 2,000+ character comment, but an earlier comment of mine, which didn’t exceed 2,000 characters, was banned as excessive?
@ Chad: This comment is straying far off topic. Stay on topic and only discuss the content of the post. Not subjects you want to inject. But I’ll permit this since you are commenting on a previous comment. But again, I will delete future comments if they break this rule.
The issue of how many BLM protestors were killed by police is an irrelevant red herring. The real issue is the prevalence of racism and homicidal violence against Black people. Not to mention an even higher level of such hatred and violence toward Palestinians.
First, the issue certainly is the level of systemic racism in America (and Israel). And that includes not just the level of violence against Israeli Jews (which has been unprecedented in the current round of protests), but the vastly greater level of it against Israeli Palestinians and occupied Palestinians. Confining the conception of “violence” only to Israeli Jews is racist and is the epitome of pro-Israel apartheid.
This gambit has been offered not once but many times here. It must be a major hasbara talking point. The prosecution of Israeli leaders does not indicate the Israeli justice system works or that it is more rigorous than America’s. In fact, it isn’t. What it really indicates is the extraordinary level of corruption and sexual violence among Israeli elites and Israelis in general. No doubt you’re aware that Israel ranks high on Transparency International’s index of corrupt states. If Israel’s justice system really worked Netanyahu would have been indicted, tried, convicted and imprisoned years ago. That fact that it’s taken years to even get to this point is shameful.
And as for the dysfunction of the Israeli justice system, talk to any Israeli Palestinian or occupied Palestinian about the outrageous system they face.
Comments are published here totally at my discretion.
Not to be totally dismissive of the protestors in the streets, but I really do find that their chants to respect “democracy” fall on deaf ears considering that 95% of them support the Apartheid regime that subjects nearly half of the population to oppression due to their ethnicity and race. The only reason they are so indignant on this “judicial reform” is because it would rip the mask off on how Israel really is, not how they fantasize it to be. A “democracy” for some is a democracy for none. Until the fight for democracy extends to the Palestinian people, my sympathies here are nonexistent.
I also think the security establishment’s attempts to intervene here rest solely on their concerns about Iran and Hamas/Lion’s Den. A fractured and divided country (the fears of a “civil war” are extremely exaggerated) makes it impossible for them to further repress any future Palestinian uprising and to illegally orchestrate an attack on Iran’s nuclear program. The longer this crisis continues, the less likely we will see dangerous actions by the army that could flare up into a Third Intifada, a war against Iran, or both. A coup d’etat by the IDF would eliminate Netanyahu, but the backlash to it would make those war aims even less likely, since the only thing that will inflame the nation more than these protests is an outright elimination of their “democracy” by a group that the people in the streets naively believe are on their side. So it’s almost better that the crisis continues, considering what the alternative is.
Curiously in all of this is the lack of commentary from Iranian leaders. They’ve been very chatty lately about the unrest in France over the pension age increase, but totally silent on these protests against Netanyahu’s government. Perhaps they feel that adding their commentary would make things worse or blow up in their face somehow. The protestors are lucky that they aren’t as conniving as many in AIPAC circles would like them to believe. A shrewd move on their end would be to use their intermediaries like Qatar and Bahrain to offer up a deal to Netanyahu to assist in saving him from being deposed in exchange for a commitment to let them develop nuclear weapons without interference. I wouldn’t put it past Bibi to take them up on the offer. He’s made slimy deals with Hamas in the past. At the end of the day, he looks out for numero uno more than anyone else.