Far-right extremists: Israeli regime’s Achilles heel

EXCLUSIVE

Ebrahim Beheshti

Staff writer

Moshe Hazan, an associate professor of economics, who had served for five years as a member of the Monetary Policy Committee at the Bank of Israel, resigned on Monday in protest at the policies of the cabinet of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and in solidarity with other protesters.

Also on Sunday, Netanyahu sacked Health and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri after having failed to persuade the cabinet member to resign from the post.

Israel’s Supreme Court has found Deri unfit for the post due to his corruption and fraudulence cases.

Hazan’s resignation and Deri’s sacking are solely part of the unfolded developments pertaining to Israel’s far-right extremist cabinet with only less than a month into its term.

A cabinet, which claims to have come to put an end to years of political instability and short-lived cabinets and early elections and restore tranquility and stability to the occupied territories, has now turned into the Israeli regime’s Achilles heel and is addressed in the harshest way by former Israeli officials.

Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak has described the new cabinet as that of bribe-takers, weaklings and a bunch of colonialists who abuse racism.

Barak has said, “For many among us, this battle will be the most important thing we would have carried out in our life,” adding when one million Israelis take to the streets to protest, the evil cabinet will collapse.

Barak, however, has not been the sole figure to have invited people to stage protests on the streets in reaction to the policies of Netanyahu’s cabinet and push it toward collapse. Former Israeli PM Yair Lapid and minister Benny Gantz as well as their allied parties have also joined the protests against Netanyahu’s cabinet.

The main parts of the occupied territories have, over the past weeks, turned into venues for widespread protests, the main reasons for which have been the Israeli Justice Ministry’s plans for implementing judicial reforms.

Protestors and media maintain that the reforms have given more power to Israeli politicians in judicial affairs, having prepared the ground for them to evade decisions by the Supreme Court and changing the process of appointing judges.

One of the plans also calls for authorizing Knesset to exclude certain individuals from the leveled accusations in the High Court.

Analysts maintain that the plan is aimed at giving judicial immunity to Netanyahu, whose corruption and fraudulence cases are still open at the High Court.

Aharon Barak, the former president of the Supreme Court of Israel, has said the reforms are in line with helping Netanyahu in his corruption cases, while former president of the Israeli regime Reuven Rivlin has slammed the plans as a coup d’état against the regime’s judicial system and the Supreme Court.

In addition, Israel’s Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s positions and actions have drawn angry reactions to the extreme policies of Netanyahu’s cabinet outside the occupied territories. Ben-Gvir’s visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound shortly after the inauguration of the cabinet was met by sharp criticisms from Arab countries, Europe and even the United States.

The chaotic situation of the cabinet and domestic and international concerns regarding the continuation of Netanyahu’s policies have endangered Netanyahu’s premiership. Israeli media, including Haaretz, reported that it is expected that the judicial adviser, Ministry of Justice officials and the prosecutor’s office will take action to force Netanyahu to resign.

Although the Israeli cabinet’s judicial adviser has denied any measure to oust Netanyahu, the critical letter of the leaders of the ruling coalition parties to the adviser indicates that there are serious efforts to topple Netanyahu. The letter states that the removal of Netanyahu is an “attempt for an illegal military coup” against the new cabinet.

The Likud party and Netanyahu had become a savior for Israel before the Knesset elections and following the ruling coalitions’ successive defeats, which had led to a kind of political instability. Many hoped that he would be able to bring political peace to the occupied territories and end the era of failed cabinets and fragile coalitions. But these optimisms faded much sooner than expected and now a series of developments and policies have not only put Netanyahu and his cabinet in trouble, but have even put Israel at risk.

Gantz said before the Knesset elections that “Netanyahu would bring Israel to the brink of civil war and maybe beyond.” Gantz also said that Ben-Gvir would set the Middle East on fire.

Now a fire has engulfed Israel and the continuation of instability heralds that Netanyahu’s cabinet would not last long. There is no clear prospect for calm within the regime.