Protests in Israel: country’s future at stake

The mass protests against the planned judicial reform in Israel continue unabated. Under the proposed legislation parliament would be able to overturn decisions of the Supreme Court with a simple majority. Media reports say the far-right government wants to push through parts of the reform in a fast-track procedure before the end of March. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denies this. Commentators see the country at a crossroads.

Spotmedia (RO) /

A prisoner of his allies

Netanyahu has manoeuvred all of Israel into a trap, Spotmedia writes:

“Every Saturday Israelis take to the streets, and the protests have taken on historic overtones. Not just because so many are taking part but also because those who normally symbolise the state — reservists, former intelligence chiefs, intellectuals of different generations — are also joining in. These protests in Israel are about resistance to the Netanyahu government’s attempts to establish an autocratic regime. ... But Benjamin Netanyahu appears to have no room to back down [on the judicial reforms], because he’s become a prisoner of his allies, who are keeping their foot on the accelerator, and without whom he would not have come to power.”

Emilian Isaila
Politiken (DK) /

A threat to Israel’s existence

It’s high time for the more moderate sections of Israeli society to get active, Politiken criticises:

“For far too long, Israel’s liberal forces have been lulled by the country’s enormous military and economic success. Now Israelis must face their own demons and, above all, end the occupation and help the Palestinians to achieve their own state. Not just for the Palestinians’ sake, but also for their own. Otherwise, the settlers will prevail and Israel will end up as another undemocratic Middle Eastern country with a strong military. ... The protesters are right. Benjamin Netanyahu and his government are a threat to Israel’s existence.”

Népszava (HU) /

Hungary as a cautionary tale

Népszava sees similarities between the situation in Israel and that in Hungary:

“We Hungarians have also played a significant — and inglorious — role in the fact that the protests in Israel have developed into a ‘national resistance’. ... In the mass demonstrations, the photo of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán with his friends Putin, Erdoğan and Netanyahu is a recurring motif. ... The Israeli protesters are aware that today’s Hungary, which is considered a cautionary example, was built up step by step — among other things as a result of the passivity of Hungarian society. Israel’s rebels want to avoid this.”

Mária Gál