Netanyahu Warns Against Threats to Democracy by Military Deserters

netanyahu warns against threats to democracy by military deserters
Sean Gallup / Getty

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Monday against threats to democracy by thousands of military reservists who are refusing to show up for duty unless his government stops pursuing judicial reform.

Netanyahu, in his first remarks since being hospitalized over the weekend with symptoms of dehydration, said that an effort by up to 4,000 pilots, cyberwarfare specialists, and commandos to use their reserve service to force a change in government policy is a direct threat to democracy — not the legislation they are opposing.

The Jerusalem Post reported:

“For all those who wave the flag of democracy, I want to say a few words about democracy. In a democracy, the military is subjugated to the elected government and not the opposite, while in military rule, the government is subjugated to the military – or, to be precise, to a group within the army. This is the basic difference between democracy and military rule,” the prime minister said.

“This is true in every democracy, but in our democracy, the incitement to refusals directly endangers the security of all of the citizens of Israel. They eat away at the deterrence of our enemies, who easily can be tempted to act of aggression against us, and they destabilize discipline within the army, which is the basis of the army’s existence in the first place,” Netanyahu said.

As Breitbart News has reported, Netanyahu’s government was elected last year with a sweeping mandate, and resolved to pursue judicial reforms that have long been sought by the country’s conservative electoral majority.

Israel’s judiciary has amassed extraordinary powers in recent decades — unrivaled anywhere in the democratic world — and uses them to defend the country’s liberal cultural elite against an increasingly conservative society.

After massive protests nearly shut down the country this spring, Netanyahu sought talks with the opposition, which failed to achieve results. He then decided to pursue piecemeal reforms, starting with the most widely accepted one —  a limit on the courts’ ability to strike down laws and policy on the basis of “reasonableness.”

Critics say that the “reasonableness” standard is a vague catch-all that invites judicial abuses of power. Those who oppose the reforms say that it is necessary to have judicial “gatekeepers” to prevent legislative excesses.

Protests by reservists have continued from the spring, and have been joined in recent days by an open letter written by former agents of Israel’s secret service, who describe the reforms as a threat to national security.

The ongoing protests form a backdrop to the imminent arrival of Israel’s ceremonial president, Isaac Herzog, in the United States, where he will also visit the White House — which has refused to invite Netanyahu to visit.

Herzog is a left-wing figure who missed an opportunity to resolve the judicial impasse when he proposed his own set of judicial reforms that favored the status quo and ignored the recent electoral mandate for change.

The Biden administration’s open interference in Israeli politics is taking place as Biden’s own party is seeking far more radical judicial reforms and openly demanding the packing of the Supreme Court with liberal justices.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

Authored by Joel B. Pollak via Breitbart July 17th 2023