Malcolm Dash
Malcolm DashMalcolm Dash

It’s still too soon to declare Netanyahu’s governing coalition doomed, though some might argue it’s on life support. Or that the much-needed judicial reforms are dead on arrival; legislation that was demanded by and pledged to the voters during the election campaigns.

What’s more, this is a democratically elected, homogeneous government with a convincing majority. So, one may wonder why this crucial legislation has so far not been enacted.

Over the past thirty years, High Court judges have made many decisions based on their own worldviews, which are very often influenced by progressive liberal ideology. They have issued numerous statutory rulings by exercising authority that they arrogated to themselves. The jurists have effectively transformed the High Court into a supra-legislative body. They have overridden parliamentary legislation and provided the attorney general with unsurpassed powers to decree which laws and policies the government could or could not implement.

The proposed judicial reforms that the current government wishes to enact would simply align the Supreme Court and the Attorney General's office with the legal systems of the world's most advanced democracies.

Why, then, is the government unable or reluctant to enact these judicial reforms? Is it because of the ongoing, well-organized, and well-funded public protests that verge on anarchy? Is it the threat of a soft military coup, with army reservists refusing to serve if the judicial reforms are approved? Then there are the commercial threats made by high-tech companies to conduct their banking overseas (dampened by the failure of California's SVB and NY's Signature Bank) and even relocate companies to another country. In essence, this is the same as the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign promoted by anti-Israeli organizations worldwide.

All these threats do have an impact on the administration; they pose a real and significant assault on the normal functioning of the nation. But since only 2% to 3% of the population is part of the protest movement, the 250,000 to 300,000 protesters, most of whom live in Greater Tel Aviv , do not speak for the rest of the country. They are supported by a small group of elites and well-funded anarchists who rile up the protesters to a fever pitch. Many of this ‘smart set’ are disgraced, failed former high-ranking military personnel and outed politicians.

More than 60% of Jews support the government’s reforms. The remaining population is divided between those who don't hold an opinion and a hard core of approximately 25% who vehemently oppose the changes. A determined majority government ought to be able to confront and defeat this protest movement. Be that as it may, the authorities appear impotent to fully implement their promise of judicial reforms.

The opposition to the enactment of the government's judicial reforms is not the true cause of its incapacity. No, it’s a far more serious threat, and it originates from within the "deep state," which consists of the legal establishment, mainstream media, academics, the civil service, high-ranking military officers, and police officers, all working together to bring down the government.

They are attempting to overturn the outcomes of free and fair elections under the pretence that the government is illegitimate and they are rescuing the nation from dictatorship." They are convinced, or at least claim to be convinced, that their activities are all in the best interests of democracy.

The left realized many years ago that they could not win elections outright. As a result, they began to seize control of where the real power lay. The mainstream media became the epicentre of their left-wing agenda*. In parallel, they filled the nation's institutions, including the legal fraternity, the civil service, the security services, and academia, with ideological leftists.

Many political observers in Israel recognized what the liberal progressive left was doing and forewarned that the right would win elections but never govern. Dr. Martin Sherman was in the vanguard in alerting the public and the lawmakers about the left's penetration of the institutions where genuine authority is exercised. Many years ago, he wrote The Limousine Theory, in which he compares the chauffeur of the limousine to the government and the backseat occupants to the institutions of the state.

He wrote: “Why a limousine? Well, in a limousine you have a driver in official uniform and a smart cap, who is charged with driving the vehicle. He holds the steering the wheel in both hands. Sometimes he decides to turn it to the right, and sometimes to the left.Sometimes he decides to step on the gas, and sometimes the brakes. So the uninformed observer could easily reach the conclusion that the driver also decides on the destination of the vehicle.”“But of course he would be wrong.” “it’s the backseat occupants who decide on the final destination and not the chauffeur.”

I also issued warnings that the nation's institutional centers were evolving into hotbeds of left-wing activity. I specifically cautioned that the judicial system had seized the authority of the parliament. I forewarned of the anti-democratic authority of the High Court in a piece I wrote more than six years ago titled "The Rule of Law or the Rule of Lawyers."

If I and many others understood the changes that had taken place in the "Deep State, in the establishment, government institutions, the media, and among the elites, then assuredly the Likud and other right-wing parties knew too. Well, obviously they didn't know or naively thought they could overcome the opposition en passant.

If their information gathering apparatus had been on the ball, the present Netanyahu government would have approached judicial reforms differently. The opposition's well-prepared and forceful negative messages could have been neautralized. If only the government had done its homework, perhaps by now the reform legislation could have been passed and we'd be on the path to liberation from the tyranny of the "deep state".

Ed. Note: *The only contras to the totally leftist media are Arutz Sheva, its weekly BeSheva newspaper freebie, Channel 14 (whose rating has risen dramatically) and less consistently the website and freebie Yisrael Hayom. The Knesset Channel brings both sides of political issues as part of its mandate.

Malcolm Dash was until retirement Director of Operations at the Israel Institute for Strategic (IISS) Studies In 1968 he made Aliyah from Cape Town where he had studied economics and business administration at Cape Town University, served in the IDF including service during the “1973 Yom Kippur” war and work in a volunteer capacity with the Public Diplomacy Section “Hasbara” of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He later founded the Association for Israel-international Affairs and successfully arranged private briefings and seminars for the embassies of China, India, and Vietnam.