Ron Jager
Ron JagerCourtesy

The Israeli Knesset passed a law this week labeled the “reasonableness clause” that regulates the authority of Israel’s legislative branch, the Knesset and Israeli’s judicial branch, the Supreme Court thereby strengthening the system of checks and balances between both branches of government. The Israeli public has been warned for the past 6 months by those opposing the legislation that the expected passage of the law would turn Israeli into a dictatorship, and that Israel will cease to be a Democratic nation.

Just after the law was passed by a clear democratic majority, nothing happened that could be construed as weakening the Democratic character of Israel. Leading the charge in falsely accusing Israel’s government of turning Israel into a dictatorship has been a vocal, and well-funded coalition of IDF reserve air force commanders, pilots, former senior security leaders from the Mossad, Shabak (comparable to the FBI), and IDF ground forces. They have claimed that economic ruin, war, massive immigration, lack of money, lack of water, will follow the passage of the law.

The Israeli mainstream media has given unlimited airtime supporting and encouraging these false claims creating a public atmosphere that the end of Israel as we know it is just around the corner should the “reasonableness clause” be legislated.

It’s important to remember that the moment you say Israel has become a dictatorship yet nothing happens to you as is the case; that in itself should negate the claim that Israel has become a dictatorship, so much for simple logic.

Over the past six months, Israel has been subject to almost daily demonstrations led by these retired soldiers and security officials. To give you an idea of what the Israeli public has been subjected to, imagine that tens of thousands of Black Americans block the Van Wyck Expressway or the Long Island Expressway two or three times a week during rush hour as long as the Biden government doesn’t pay reparations of millions of dollars to Black Americans as compensation for their ancestors being slaves.. Imagine that the Van Wyck and LIE were not only blocked, but road infrastructure vandalized and destroyed, burning tires, obstacles, and garbage strewn on these major roads so that even after the demonstrations were ended by the police, safe passage is virtually impossible. These disruptions in Israel’s major transportation arteries has become a daily hindrance over the past months with no end in sight.

Leading the charge against Israel’s democratically elected government have been former IDF pilots, progressive politicians and retired security officials. They have publicly and repeated called for military insubordination and have publically encouraged pilots to refuse to fulfill their roles as reserve pilots thereby weakening Israel’s military preparedness against her enemies.

If an outsider randomly opened the news from Israel one morning, they would think that Israel is on the verge of being taken over by a “Military Junta”. The broadcasted mainstream news, social media, and newspapers are inundated with petitions and demands by reserve or retired military officers and soldiers claiming that if the government of Israel does not agree to the demands of these pilots, military officers and soldiers, than they will act as they see fit to bring about the collapse of Israel’s democratically government. In reality, only one single reserve soldier has been court martialed as of now for refusing to fulfil his reserve service.

Two of the vocal leaders of the anti-judicial demonstrators, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and retired IDF Chief of Staff, Major General Dan Halutz, have received unlimited airtime in Israel and with news outlets from abroad so that they can claim that the Israel’s current government and its leader are corrupt and cannot be trusted to advance legally sound reforms to the judicial system. They have publicly called for pilots and other IDF personnel to refuse to serve if called up and have also justified violent civil disobedience.

Who are these leaders who are willing to justify military insubordination, weaken Israel’s deterrence, and bring the Israeli government down?

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert: “In March 2015, Olmert was convicted in Jerusalem District Court of fraud, breach of trust, and tax evasion in his retrial on corruption charges over the Talansky case. The judges ruled that he had taken bribes and used the funds for personal reasons without reporting it”. Ehud Olmert, was jailed and served two-thirds of a 27-month prison sentence after resigning as a standing Prime Minister.

Aluf (General) Dan Halutz is the second vocal opponent of judicial reform. He is a former head of the IAF, and Chief of Staff of the IDF during the second Lebanese War. Just prior to handing down the order to the general staff of the IDF to invade Lebanon, he stepped out of his office and made a private call to his stock broker to sell his stock portfolio, in order to avoid losses and to return to the market after the market dropped significantly at the beginning of the war. Dan Halutz is also remembered for his dismal functioning as Chief of Staff of the IDF during the second Lebanese War, which has been depicted by numerous military experts as a war grossly mismanaged by Aluf Dan Halutz resulting in the deaths of scores of soldiers.

A third, failed PM Ehud Barak, ousted from the position after the shortest term of any Israeli prime minister, remained a friend of Jeffrey Epstein after Epstein's convictions as a sex offender.

These are the leaders of the anti-Judicial demonstrators.

Israel is and will continue being a vibrant Democracy despite the mass demonstrations and attempt to hold the government of Israel hostage. There seems to be something else that is operating here, a kind of sub-text. This small yet powerful leadership who have led the demonstrations believe that they are the privileged elite of Israel, a kind of local version of “white privileged supremacists” who act as if the country belongs to them and allow themselves to violate the will of the people who gave the government a clear political mandate to reform the legal system.

These self-styled elites are unwilling to open up the ranks within the IDF’s top brass, or the coveted Pilots course in the IAF, or within the elite intelligence unit 8200 among the many centers of privilege for the next generation of our youngest and brightest. It’s a known fact that all of these prized professional military careers and post military careers have been unfairly dominated by privileged Ashkenazim and have denied eligibility to candidates of Mizrachi ancestry and those who are Religious Zionists.

What we are witnessing in Israel is an abrupt and chaotic changing of the guard; the old established elite privileged classes that have had total control over centers of power and influence are threatened by the judicial reform that might infringe on their privileged status.

Those that choose to refuse to serve and are willing to neglect the security of the State of Israel should be shown the door. There are more than enough capable, intelligent, and fearless candidates from the Religious Zionist ranks and the neighborhoods “beyond the train tracks” from Israel’s peripheral towns and communities who can easily replace these privileged classes.

As for the old guard who refuse to let the new socio-economically diversified generation take its deserved place in the front row I suggest we send the old guard packing and simply tell them “Thank you for your service”.

Ron Jagergrew up in the South Bronx of New York City, making Aliyah in 1980. Served for 25 years in the IDF as a Mental Health Field Officer in operational units. Prior to retiring was Commander of the Central Psychiatric Clinic for Reserve Solders at Tel-Hashomer. Since retiring has been involved in strategic consultancy to NGO's and communities in the Gaza Envelope on resiliency projects to assist first responders and communities. Ron has written numerous articles for outlets in Israel and abroad focusing on Israel and the Jewish world.

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