In an interview with British news outlet Channel 4 News, former Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, declared that Israel is going into a civil war following Monday’s vote to pass a bill severely restricting the use of the reasonableness standard.
“There is a threat. This is a serious threat,” Olmert said. “It’s never happened before and we are going into a civil war now.”
Many within Israeli society have been expressing their displeasure regarding the government’s judicial reforms. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis have taken to the streets over recent weeks, thousands of IDF reservists have threatened to quit volunteer service, and following the passing of the bill, Israeli medical personnel have elected to strike in protest of the new law. Still, civil war has not broken out in Israel, and Olmert appeared to walk back his statement.
“We are going into a civil war now.”Former Prime Minister of Israel Ehud Olmert says the country faces civil war as huge protests have flooded the streets in Israel over judicial overhaul. pic.twitter.com/WZ33aItKP7— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) July 24, 2023
“Civil war?” the Channel 4 News anchor asked Olmert.
“Yeah, I mean, civil disobedience with all the possible ramifications to the stability of the state and to the ability of the government to perform and to the obedience of the large part of the Israeli population,” Olmert clarified.
Olmert went on to explain that the civil disobedience is being directed toward “a government which is perceived by a large part of the population to be illegitimate. [The] government has decided to threaten the foundations of Israeli democracy. And this is not something that we can accept or that we can tolerate.”
Commenters slam Olmert's conviction
Many comments on the Channel 4 News Twitter video appeared unimpressed by Olmert’s remarks.
“This old man is a convicted criminal who was in prison because he took a bribe! in cash envelopes, and you believe such a man?!” replied the commentator. Other comments similarly slammed the former prime minister for his conviction.
“Prisoner number 9032478,” another comment read.
Olmert is not the first to suggest that Israel is on the path to civil war. Many of Israel’s opponents have celebrated what they see as Israel being on its path to destruction. Others have proposed courses of action that Israeli leadership could take in order to mollify that large portion of the country that is upset over the passing of the judicial reform.