Conservatives in Israel have long been uncomfortable with the power of the Supreme Court, which has been in the hands of “progressives” and “secularists” since day one, to act as a “constitutional court” and annul laws. It was clear that the liberal-secularists would oppose the stripping of this right from the Court.
But on Monday, Israel was virtually split down the middle: The secular-progressive western cities and Judea and Samaria (the occupied West Bank), where the Hebrews first settled and which is the homeland, so to speak, of Judaism. Secular officers will no longer serve in the military and liberal teachers will no longer teach in “reactionary” areas. People quitting their jobs in government offices… Withdrawing from government tenders for security and cyber projects? Above all, if Israel, whose army is made up of “reserve” officers, is threatened with “not serving in the military”, this will be a serious security issue for Israel, which is at war with Lebanon and Syria, and threatened with being wiped off the face of the earth by Iran.
It puts the country in an existential danger by making the righteous cause of the progressive-liberal-secular-leftist alliance unjustified against Netanyahu, who has shown that he is not afraid to get into bed with the devil in order to become prime minister again, and who has entered into a coalition with religious parties with one or two MPs. Netanyahu, in turn, has turned a reform that his coalition partners believed was genuinely needed into a political catastrophe that has divided the country in two, by attempting to carry out so-called legal reforms that neither he nor the conservatives had in mind, such as the complete abolition of the constitutional court. How could a politician do a greater injustice to his own cause?
Israel, as its founders (the US and Britain) and those who took part in this project (David Ben-Gurion, Izak Ben-Zvi and Levi Eshkol) openly or covertly stated, is a religious state; its raison d’être is to provide a homeland for the Jews. However, even if its raison d’être is religion, Israel has always developed on secular political foundations, since the land it was founded on was shared with another religion, Islam, and the Hebrews shared this geography with another nation, the Arabs. European intellectual immigrants, who provided the country’s first human capital, also played a role in this secular attitude. But this country, which owes its lack of a standing army to the Jewish faith that underpins this human capital, has finally come to the point where the powers of the Supreme Court, one of the secularists’ safeguards against populism, are being questioned.
Neither side has managed this trend well. Non-religious conservatives like Netanyahu, desperate for two or three votes, were so desperate as to abolish the Supreme Court’s power to review legislation. The secularists were desperate enough to put the country in a security danger. These mutual dead ends in which Israel finds itself at the moment are a field of study not only for political scientists and sociologists, but also for politicians.
While we are waiting for a “two-state solution” to the Palestinian issue, Israel itself is on its way to becoming a two-state.
Auto translated from Milliyet newspaper