In April 2023, The New York Times published that among the hundreds of top-secret Pentagon documents that were leaked recently, one CIA report (“Israeli Mossad Encourages Protests Against New Government Over Proposed Judicial Reforms”) stated: “In early to mid-February, Israeli Secret Intelligence Service (Mossad) leaders advocated for Mossad officials and Israeli citizens to protest against the new Israeli Government’s proposed judicial reforms, including several explicit calls to action that decried the Israeli Government, according to signals intelligence.”
The Israeli government’s judicial reform plan, if passed in full, will realign Israel’s currently unchecked judiciary with the checked judiciaries of advanced democracies. Its main components include: placing judicial appointments under political control; requiring justices to base their judgments on the law, rather than the vague “reasonableness” idea, banning the Supreme Court from amending or overriding Israel’s Basic laws, which serve as Israel’s quasi-constitution; placing constraints on the Supreme Court’s power to abrogate laws duly promulgated by the Knesset, while providing the Knesset with a mechanism for overriding the Court’s decisions; and preventing the attorney general’s opinions from binding the government that he purportedly serves.
The Mossad denied the CIA report, but Mossad has previously shown disloyalty. In 2012, it was reported that then-Mossad Director Meir Dagan flew to Washington two years earlier to inform his CIA counterpart Leon Panetta that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had ordered Mossad’s preparation to strike Iran’s nuclear installations, an order which Dagan had already refused to obey and implement. Additionally, there were news reports from the CIA’s reporting period of early to mid-February indicating that Mossad’s leadership was tolerant, and perhaps supportive, of the left’s efforts to overthrow the Netanyahu government.
Essentially, the CIA claimed that Israel was in the midst of a coup partially organized by its security services.
President Joe Biden and other leading Democrats who have been supporting the opposition in its efforts to block the Netanyahu government’s striving to pass legislation to curb the limitless powers of Israel’s Supreme Court and its attorney general, now seem to support the Israeli left’s apparent goal of toppling the Netanyahu government through insurrection.
In recent months, former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon, and former chiefs of general staff Ehud Barak and Dan Halutz have called for soldiers and police to disobey lawful orders.
For years, Israel’s generals stated that the gravest threat facing Israel is the divisions within Israeli society. By repeatedly making statements predicting Israel’s imminent collapse and calling for IDF soldiers to refuse orders to serve, and then siding with the left and pushing its policies from within the security apparatus, Israel’s military leadership was stoking and exacerbating those divisions.
In February 2023, a squadron of reserve Air Force fighter pilots announced they would not serve in reserves if the Netanyahu government continued with its plan to place minimal limits on the powers of the Supreme Court and Attorney General; using their position to extort the government and the public that voted for it.
Rather than court-martial the pilots on charges of insurrection and sedition, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi and Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Tomer Bar pampered the pilots to get them to relent. Similarly, they coddled other leftist reservists from technology, artillery and other units.
In response, flight mechanics announced that they would not service the planes of the leftist pilots who refused to defend the country for political reasons. Halevi and Bar couldn’t discipline them without destroying what is left of the unity of force in the Air Force. The IDF General Staff essentially surrendered its power to discipline its soldiers.
Furthermore, former prime ministers Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak called publicly for foreign governments to boycott the Israeli government. Additionally, current opposition leader Yair Lapid, former foreign minister Tzipi Livni, former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon, etc., have approached America and other countries to convince them to boycott Israel. In April, Lapid visited New York and met with American Jewish leaders, galvanizing them against the Netanyahu government. Lapid also met with leading US lawmakers seeking their assistance in overthrowing the Netanyahu government.
Bank of Israel Governor Amir Yaron, as well as Lapid, Olmert, Barak, Livni, Ya’alon, and various retired generals and other members of the elites, warned that Israel’s economy is risky and that Israel’s democracy is precarious. They are aiding Israel’s enemies to demonize and delegitimize the Jewish state.
Recently, Iran media has been propagating statements by Israeli opposition leaders and retired generals predicting Israel’s imminent collapse and calling for IDF soldiers to refuse orders to serve.
Quoting these statements, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps commander Hossein Salami, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, and various Hamas and Islamic Jihad commanders and preachers declared that Israel is falling apart and its destruction is imminent, and called for their jihadist forces to prepare for victory.
The blame for Israel’s enemies’ current sense of empowerment, where Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas believe they can attack Israel with impunity, belongs to the previous government; the Lapid-Bennett government that took no action to fight their growing military capabilities in Gaza and Lebanon until after it had fallen in a no-confidence vote and elections were called. Why? Because it was dependent for its existence on the Muslim Brotherhood’s Ra’am Party.
Nevertheless, Israel’s enemies are misreading Israel’s united determination to defend itself from all aggressors and the IDF’s acceptance of governmental authority and power.
In an address that Prime Minister Netanyahu gave in April 2023 at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, asserting his authority over the generals by forcing them to contend with the real threats facing Israel, he said, he seeks a negotiated agreed-upon plan to limit the powers of the Supreme Court; a goal, he said, that a large majority of Israelis support. He also said, he has achieved consensus on the “absolute rejection of the refusal to serve.”
Netanyahu’s highlighting the essentially universal rejection of refusal to serve aided the assertion of his own governing authority over the recalcitrant generals. Under his leadership, the IDF, Mossad, Shin Bet and police are required to make defending Israel against Iran and its acolytes their top priority.
When Khader Adnan (a top terrorist from Iranian-controlled Islamic Jihad) died in an Israeli prison after 83 days of refusing food, Islamic Jihad and Hamas began firing hundreds of rockets and mortars on Israeli communities.
Instead of a firm response to the belligerence, IDF generals said they wanted to focus on restoring deterrence in the north against Hezbollah and did not want to be distracted by Hamas in Gaza, as if Israel is facing two separate theaters. But an attack in Gaza resonates in Lebanon. Moreover, it is unsustainable for terrorists to attack Israel without repercussions.
Israel is facing one consolidated effort controlled by Iran and carried out by Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Iran also controls Syria through Bashar Assad, controls Iraq through its Shiite militia, and controls Yemen through the Houthis.
Consequently, defeating the Iranian regime, will degrade Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Besides, overthrowing the ayatollahs’ regime could be easier than destroying Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Iran has provided them with enormous missile arsenals; they pose a more immediate threat to Israel than the ayatollahs.
The ayatollahs hold over Iran is weakening. Reportedly, more than 80% of Iranians hate the regime and want it overthrown.
Iran International stated that Iran’s inflation rate is over 50%. Its currency fell by over 60% since August. Over the past 12 months, food prices rose more than 70%.
In September 2022, the murder of Mahsa Amini by the regime’s morality police led to unprecedented, months-long revolutionary protests throughout Iran that were horrendously suppressed. The regime killed hundreds of protesters and imprisoned more than 20,000 for participating in the protests.
In April 2023, the protests began again, including nighttime protests and anti-hijab protests across the country. On May 1, workers in the oil, gas, mining, steel and petrochemical industries struck in 70 cities in various provinces.
Recently, the Iranian media reported an explosion at a Revolutionary Guards base in the Semnan province. Attacks on regime targets like the base in Semnan could encourage the people to strive to bring the regime down.
Israel should support the Iranian people in their struggles to overthrow the regime by direct political support for freedom in Iran, and through subversion and sabotage.
The only long-term solution to Iran’s nuclear weapons program is to terminate the regime.
Israel should renew its targeted strikes against Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror bosses. Israel should also confront the fallacy of the Biden regime pretending that the Lebanese government and armed forces are independent entities and pro-America. Currently, America majorly funds both the Lebanese government and its armed forces, even though both are controlled by Hezbollah. This cannot eliminate the threat they pose to Israel; however, it will reduce their open aggression by eliminating their plausible deniability.
The real truth is that it is the Israeli elites who are in revolt; declaring the Israeli government illegitimate; lobbying American Jews and politicians to boycott Israel’s leaders and reject the legitimacy of the Israeli public that voted them into office. Nevertheless, the campaign by the political left to overthrow the government through insurrection, its massively funded rallies against the Netanyahu government and its voters, and the elites’ revolt cannot tear Israel apart.
In April 2023, outgoing IDF Spokesman Brig. General Ran Kochav said that there have been no cases of reservists refusing to serve or regular army forces disobeying orders. Despite efforts by Barak, Halutz, etc., to cause IDF reservists to rebel, most units have reported increases in reservists that have been reporting for duty, and no operations have been canceled or undermined in any way.
The consequences of the battle against passing judicial reform are grave; however, the gravest threat Israel faces is Iran; not domestic disunity. The Israeli people will do everything necessary to prevent the ayatollahs-controlled Iran from becoming a nuclear power. Furthermore, as the left’s electoral defeat in November 2022 indicated, the Israeli public is not interested in domestic chaos or civil war. T
he vast majority of Israelis remain committed to the State of Israel and the Zionist vision of a Jewish homeland in the Land of Israel; ruled by its people with its elected leaders.
Dr. Sheyin-Stevens is a Registered Patent Attorney based in Florida, USA. He earned his Doctorate in Law from the University of Miami.