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Netanyahu’s expansion of war powers raises concerns in Israel

The timing of the new law authorizing the prime minister and defense minister to declare war without consulting the Cabinet worries many Israelis.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a Memorial Day ceremony at Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem, April 18, 2018. Debbie Hill/Pool via Reuters - RC144DAD1110
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On the evening of April 30, the Knesset approved a proposal authorizing the prime minister and defense minister to declare war in extreme circumstances. That same night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a speech revealing a secret operation to retrieve the Iranian nuclear archive. The proximity between the broadcast of the “Iranian lie” speech and the authorization of the law, combined with the heating up of the security situation near Israel’s northern border, have justly created a sense among the public that we’re on the brink of war.

The question of why it was urgent for Netanyahu to push forward right now a law that grants him great power and simultaneously weakens the diplomatic-security Cabinet in a consequential decision to declare war was not subject to an in-depth or serious public discussion. Naturally, it was overshadowed by the drama of the speech Netanyahu delivered.

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