Mickey Gitzin, director of the New Israel Fund, in an interview with The Jerusalem Post’s Khaled Abu Toameh, said the government’s proposed reforms are an attack against all elements of democracy, including the judiciary, the press and all aspects of civil society that are important to democracy.
Gitzin said the government has purposely led a legislative blitz to pound those opposed to their policies into submission. “This strategy is a shock doctrine that tries to silence those who oppose these reforms because they want to confuse the reality in which we live and create a situation in which we negotiate or discuss a new reality for the State of Israel.” He said conducting discussions about negotiations and dialogue is precisely the strategy that the government wants to promote to stop the demonstrations.
Israel is pursuing the illiberal Hungarian system model, said Gitzin. Damaging the free press, civil society, and the judicial system are interrelated and all freedoms are damaged.
According to Gitzin, the government is a combination of interest groups that want to weaken the judiciary for their specific goals. “People like Ben-Gvir and Smotrich want to keep illegally taking more and more private land in the West Bank, and cannot afford a free judiciary, because it would stop their actions. The ultra-Orthodox, with their issues of personal rights regarding the independent autonomy they want, cannot achieve that in an equal society, and the Netanyahu family wants to extricate itself from its legal troubles,” he said.
Gitzin remains optimistic that the reforms can be defeated and is encouraged by the growing opposition. “Israel is not an island, and the Israeli economy is not an island. As long as we can express our opinions and fight the struggles, we will do it.”