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Why new elections won’t save Israel’s democracy

The mass rally last week against the anti-democratic legislation advanced by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not reflect a change in the public opinion toward peace with the Palestinians.
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The protest organized by opposition parties in the Tel Aviv Museum Plaza on May 25 was impressive. According to data compiled by one of the cellphone service providers, over 50,000 Israelis came to protest the plot by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his associates to undermine the state’s democratic foundations. The speeches delivered by leaders of the Blue and White, Labor and Meretz parties, and by the head of the Arab Hadash-Ta’al list, were also impressive.

At the same time, the incitement against the country’s courts as reflected in several unbridled legislative proposals being promoted by Netanyahu and his allies has brought quite a few guardians of democracy out of their ivory towers. Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut took off her gloves. Retired judges lashed out at the proposed Override Clause that would allow the Knesset to override Supreme Court rulings and limit its authority. Philanthropists threatened to withhold funding for public institutions. Academics announced that they would start their classes with lectures on the meaning and importance of democracy. Pundits called for popular revolt and even for mass legal violations.

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