Just as the Netanyahu government took its lessons from authoritarian playbooks the world over, so, too, will illiberal governments with anti-democratic aspirations take a page from Israel if the government’s attempted coup ultimately succeeds.
For the past 15 weeks, what has been happening in Israel appeared as if an unstoppable force was meeting an immovable object. Despite all domestic and international efforts to convince the right-wing governing coalition to pause and seek a consensus on its divisive plan to overhaul the judiciary, which would reshape Israel’s constitutional make-up and legal order, the government marched on and disregarded the political capital it was hemorrhaging.
In turn, it was met with the greatest mass protest movement in the country’s 75-year history. As ideologically one-sided as the governing bloc’s actions have been, the massive strikes and protests that erupted in opposition to them have instead defied the usual political dividing lines. Joining the usual liberals and progressives in the protest movement are also army veterans and reservists, diplomats and legal experts, business leaders and hi-tech executives, and even blocs of Ultra-Orthodox Jews and groups of settlers in the West Bank – all of whom understand the dangers of this legislative blitz.