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Netanyahu’s habit of spying on his own citizens

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has no qualms about exploiting the coronavirus crisis as a pretext to track phones, violate privacy, refuse to replace the speaker of the Knesset and postpone his own trial.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks as he chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, March 8, 2020. Oded Balilty/Pool via Reuters - RC2MFF9PND0I

The coronavirus is inflicting physical, mental and economic damage on people throughout the world on a scale unseen since the mid-20th century. In a bid to stem the pandemic, save lives and prevent the collapse of health systems, truly democratic governments are adopting drastic measures reminiscent of wartime states of emergency. In Israel, a caretaker government, whose members no longer have the confidence of a majority of voters, is damaging the most vital organs of democracy and human freedoms under the auspices of public anxiety. And this, even though the pandemic has so far not resulted in a single Israeli fatality. In fact, Nobel Prize Laureate professor Michael Levitt said March 18 that he would be “very surprised” if more than 10 people die in Israel due to the coronavirus infection, adding that he had shared his view with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The coronavirus has spawned an unprecedented pandemic that requires unprecedented measures, Blue and White senior Yair Lapid wrote on his Facebook page March 17, adding, “However, it also raises the question of who we are, what kind of state we have here.” The centrist politician continued, “Israel’s unelected government told us today that it is the sole authority in the country. It told us we are not allowed to leave our house. If you want to challenge the decision or even ask someone to reexamine it, you have nowhere to turn. As of this moment, Benjamin Netanyahu and [Knesset Speaker] Yuli Edelstein have shut down Israeli democracy.”

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