Continuing unrest in and around Israel

editor - 24 March 2023

The unrest in Israel continues. Massive demonstrations are being held. Last night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a public speech. He made clear that – notwithstanding the opposition – the judicial reform law addressing the appointment of Supreme Court justices will pass in its current form next week.  “The law that will pass next week in the Knesset is a law that does not control the court — it balances and diversifies it. It opens the doors of the court to views and publics and vast sectors that hitherto were excluded from it.”

“We don’t want a court controlled [by the political majority]; we want a balanced court — a court of the people — and a court like this will win the public’s support,” he says. “It’s not the end of democracy; it’s strengthening democracy.”

The proposal — which proponents claim is needed to rein in over-zealous courts but critics say threatens Israel’s democratic character — would increase the coalition’s control over the appointment of Supreme Court judges, and would enable the Knesset to override court decisions with a simple majority.

This is all part of a bigger debate about the ‘Jewish’ and ‘democratic’ character of Israel. There is much opposition within the center/left of Israeli society – which lost the last elections – towards many of the current government’s broader policy proposals. There is a deep fear that this ‘national religious’ government will lead Israel into some kind of theocracy or dictatorship. One senses that this conflict challenges the essential character of Israel. What does it mean to be a ‘Jewish” state?’ What does it mean to be ‘democratic’?

Former Chief Rabbi Lau made an interesting remark about this last week:

“I am for democracy – the people in control. But how? Upon what [basis] does the nation rule? In our Torah, in Exodus chapter 23, it is written: ‘[You shall neither side with the mighty to do wrong—you shall not give perverse testimony in a dispute so as to] pervert it in favor of the mighty [nor shall you show deference to a poor person in a dispute].’ This is democracy. It doesn’t say to listen to the voice of so-and-so- not a random leader – not a professor, not a doctor, not a rabbi and not a Hassidic rebbe. In the  [Israeli] Declaration of Independence, the word ‘democracy’ or ‘democratic’ does not even appear once. And it’s not that anyone is against democracy, but it is not the basis of our nation. The word ‘Jewish’ appears more than ten times. This is the basis upon which the State of Israel was founded, according to … David Ben-Gurion. There is no question about that.”

How all of this will play out is not clear. Some predict a constitutional crisis. Given Israel does not have a constituion, this could – in the long run – be beneficial, in stimulating a process to create a constitution that addresses the balance of powers between legislature, executive and judiciary.

This is very concerning and troubling, because it comes at a time that Israel’s security is under increasing pressure. A recent poll shows that there is increasing hostility towards Israel in the Palestinian-controlled areas. Boaz Ganor, executive director of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) in Herzliya, saidthat this is “the end goal of a long-term campaign by Hamas and other terror groups to inflame the Palestinians. It seems they have succeeded.” This is a very challenging picture, especially now that Ramadan is beginning – a time usually associated with a rise of terror and violence within the Arab/Islamic communities, focusing on the Temple Mount.

Iran is edging closer to nuclear ballistic weapon capacity, and is consolidating its influence in Syria, which is a growing hotbed of anti-Israel terror. Amir Tsafarti has reported in his weekly newsletter that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad welcomed the idea of establishing a stronger Russian military presence in war-torn Syria. And the Iranian proxy Hezbollah terror organization has begun mobilizing medium-range surface-to-surface ballistic missiles within Syrian territory. Israel this week hit Iranian targets in Damascus, Latakia, and Aleppo. There was serious damage done to the Aleppo airport following the Israeli strike. A storehouse of rockets and a runway were destroyed. The military base in the area was shut down due to the damage done to the runway.

Let us contiunue to pray even more fervently for unity in Israel, for the peace of Jerusalem, and the coming of Messiah: the Prince of Peace.

The Editorial Team – Israel & Christians Today

Israel’s post-democracy moment
Melanie Philips writes: “So, what explains this unprecedented uproar? The clue lies in the claim that the reforms spell the end of democracy in Israel, whose values will no longer be recognizably Jewish. In fact, at the core of the protests lies an attack on Jewish values.”
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‘Gun is on the table’: Both sides of overhaul clash say constitutional crisis coming
Ben Sales writes at Times of Israel: “What if the judicial overhaul is passed, the Supreme Court strikes it down, and the Knesset doesn’t abide by that decision? Who holds final authority – the court or the Knesset?”
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Judaism is the foundation of Israel, not democracy, former chief rabbi claims
Jerusalem Post reports: Israel is a Jewish state before it is a democratic state, former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau alleged at a conference run by the Fund for Zionist Leadership in Israel.
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Israel threatens military strike if Iran enriches uranium above 60 percent
JNS reports: “Jerusalem reportedly warned the U.S. and European allies that Tehran’s stockpiling of the product beyond this level could trigger military action.”
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Broad support for intifada, collapse of PA among Palestinians
Some 61% of survey respondents say they expect a third terror war against Israel to erupt in the near future. Shimon Sherman writes at JNS: “The majority of Arabs in Judea and Samaria, and the Gaza Strip, support terrorist attacks against Israelis, a recent poll shows. “Palestinian public attitudes are becoming more militant: support for armed struggle rises, support for the two-state solution drops, … trust in the P.A. declines, demand for the resignation of president [Mahmoud] Abbas rises,” Khalil Shikaki, director of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR), tweeted last week.”
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The Farewell – The Book of RUTH with Johannes Gerloff #11
A turnaround always means having to say goodbye. That hurts. But it also means that someone is set free for a new beginning.


Matthew 24:4-14

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of Me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophetswill appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come

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