Israel’s internal crisis continues
On July 23 Israel’s parliament ratified a first bill of the judicial reform, limiting the powers of the country’s Supreme Court. This was met by a continuation of the protests by Israelis who see the moves as a threat to their democracy.
The protest movement has blocked highways, marched on foot from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, disrupted train lines and led massive demonstrations at Ben Gurion Airport. Most dramatically of all, over 10,000 IDF reservists, including members of the Air Force, are striking or threatening to strike. Israel’s tech workers are also out in the streets, warning of the drying up of foreign investment, the draining out of Israel’s best brains, and the inevitable collapse of Israel’s cherished innovation sector. All of this is a response to a singular issue — the government’s plan to alter the judicial system in Israel.
This conflict between left and right wing forces mirrors similar conflicts happening in western democracies. It goes beyond economic issues and extends to matters relating to life style, morals and religious beliefs. The left favour liberal morality, including the LGBT agenda and abortion on demand. They also oppose settlement in Judea Samaria and right wing Zionist nationalism. The right want to conserve traditional family values and national identity, often backed by a faith in God and the Bible.
The right have a majority in the Knesset, however the media, education, and the judiciary have become dominated by the left, many of whom want to bring down the current government. This has now come to a head in the battle over the Supreme Court, which is firmly in the left wing camp. This body elects its own members behind closed doors and has power to strike down laws passed by the elected government in the Knesset if it does not like them.
The left claims that any attempt to limit the Supreme Court is an assault on Israeli democracy. The right says the left are undermining democracy, by trying to prevent an elected government delivering on its election promises. They also accuse the left of inciting sedition against the Jewish state, in an attempt to overthrow the government. Former Prime Minister Olmert opposes the government’s reforms and said on Israel TV ‘what is needed is to move to the next stage, the stage of war, and war is not waged with speeches.’ Another former PM, c, has said
Government Minister Miri Regev (Likud) has sent a letter to Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara, demanding that an investigation be opened against Barak and Forum 555, on suspicion of “criminal gathering, civil disobedience, and an attempted coup d’état.” She says
In an article in the Israeli journal Ynet, Dr Doron Matza says all this is evidence of an internal crisis in Israeli society which is leading to what he calls the ‘third exile.’ He writes:
In simple terms he is saying that Israel is in danger of falling apart, lacking any unifying ideology or belief system to hold it together. From God’s point of view the only one who can bring it together is the one who remains ‘despised and rejected’ by the majority – Yeshua the Messiah. Before Israel comes to recognise this fact, the sad conclusion is that they are in grave danger of succumbing to the coming Anti-Messiah. Isaiah 28.14-15 prophesies the rise of ‘scornful men who rule this people who are in Jerusalem.’
14 Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scornful men,Isaiah 28.14-15
Who rule this people who are in Jerusalem,
15 Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death,
And with Sheol we are in agreement.
When the overflowing scourge passes through,
It will not come to us,
For we have made lies our refuge,
And under falsehood we have hidden ourselves.”
These men make a ‘covenant with death’ and hide themselves ‘under falsehood’ in order to protect themselves from the ‘overflowing scourge.’ In my judgement the left wing opposition is now coming out as these ‘scornful men’ who will end up leading Israel on the path to the Antichrist and time of Jacob’s trouble.
Israel’s enemies watching
The crisis sweeping Israel has become a focal point for its enemies across the Middle East. Foes including Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah have been crowing at the sight of Israel fractured by the crisis ignited by government moves to overhaul the judiciary, especially threats by reservists to stop showing up for military service. They hear senior Israeli military officials warning that Israel’s war-readiness could be at risk.
Israel’s enemies have been devoting special attention to the crisis at closed-door meetings, perceiving this as a potential turning point for Israel. The subject was discussed at a recent meeting involving a senior commander from Iran’s Quds Force, the arm of its Revolutionary Guards that funnels military support to Tehran’s allies, two Iranian security officials and officials from the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, an Iranian diplomat said.
In the last few months, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah has multiple times threatened war and promoted a much more intense low-grade conflict with Israel on the Lebanese border. Israel has warned that if war were to break out with Hezbollah it would result in Lebanon returning “to the stone age”. In other words, Israel would unleash lethal force on Hezbollah targets and infrastructure which could all but destroy the already crumbling Lebanese state.
Israel – Saudi agreement on the way?
According to the Wall Street Journal ‘Saudis Agree With US on Path to Normalize Kingdom’s Ties With Israel.’ The report says that ‘US and Saudi Arabia have agreed to “the broad contours of a deal for Saudi Arabia to recognize Israel.”
Officials are negotiating details of the agreement they hope to cement within nine-to-12 months, though obstacles remain. Included in the agreement would be a US guarantee of Saudi Arabia’s safety, assistance by Washington in civilian nuclear development, and some significant concessions by Israel regarding the Palestinians.
How far the process will go is debatable because Netanyahu’s government is far from willing to make the required concessions which could lead to some kind of Palestinian State emerging in the West Bank. This situation prompted a response by Israel’s Sovereignty (Ribonut) Movement pleading with the government not to sacrifice the goal of extending Israeli law over Judea and Samaria for the sake of securing a normalisation agreement with Saudi Arabia.
The Sovereignty Movement appreciated that an agreement with Saudi Arabia “carries immense significance in economic, regional, security, and other terms, and perhaps also in the creation of a Middle Eastern coalition against the Iranian threat.” Even so, it was vital that it not come “at the expense of our cherished vision of sovereignty and its application in the heart of the Land of Israel.” This is a reference to the desire for full Israeli sovereignty over Area C in Judea and Samaria, which constitutes about 61 percent of the West Bank territory, containing all Israeli settlements other than those in East Jerusalem.
In signing the original agreement with Gulf Arab states in 2020 Netanyahu submitted to American pressure to put sovereignty in Area C on hold in order to secure the Abraham Accords.
This established somewhat friendly relations between Israel on one side and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain on the other.
The price for it, however, has far outweighed the benefits. A few months after Netanyahu agreed to not move ahead with sovereignty, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh rolled out a plan designed to unilaterally establish a Palestinian state. Massive illegal Palestinian Arab construction in so-called Area C of Judea and Samaria has been subsequently bankrolled by the European Union, to the tune of hundreds of millions of Euros. While the PA’s plan is being actively pursued, and has become almost irreversible, sovereignty has gathered dust on its “temporary” shelf.
The Sovereignty Movement protested, saying:
Bible students may see this as the first stage in the peace agreement of Daniel 9.27, which turns into a ‘covenant with death’ for Israel, as prophesied in Isaiah 28.14-22. We also note the centrality of Jerusalem and Judea – Samaria, the heartland of biblical Israel, as the main issue, reminding us of Zechariah’s prophecy of Jerusalem as the ‘burdensome stone’, the focal point of controversy in the last days conflict.
Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;Daniel 9.27
But in the middle of the week
He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate,
Even until the consummation, which is determined,
Is poured out on the desolate.”