The Benjamin Netanyahu Israel know these days is different than he was a few years ago, Former Mossad head Efraim Halevy told CNN in an interview on Wednesday.
Halevy said that he thinks that Netanyahu and his colleagues deliberately hid the details of judicial reform from the public in order to win the elections.
"The intention of having a constitutional change was never mentioned," explained Halevy. "Because, had it been mentioned, they probably would have lost the election. They decided not to reveal it to their own constituency and not to reveal it to the public at large, and to spring it on the public...only after they had been elected on a false premise."
The core of the judicial reform
Halevy also described the core goals of the judicial reform to CNN, saying that "the heart of the judicial overhaul is that in the future, there will not be any judicial review of legislation in parliament. In other words, the parliament [would be] free to legislate without having any counterpart in the judicial system."
Amanpour followed up, asking what exactly is threatened by the judicial reform.
The reform "threatens what is normally called democracy," replied Halevy. "In democracy, you have a balance of power between the various elements that make up the democracy. You have the legislative part of it, you have the courts and you have the general public. And if you don't have the courts anymore...[then] there is no protection, even for minority rights."
IDF reservist judicial reform protests
The two also discussed recent instances of IDF reservists - pilots in particular - openly refusing to serve in protest of the judicial reform.
"These are people who in many cases risk their lives in order to maintain the security of the state of Israel," explained the former Mossad chief. "If their decision-making process is going to be one of a dictatorship, then the type of decisions that will be taken by this dictatorship will be unpalatable to these pilots [and others]. These are the centerpiece of Israel's defense capability. You cannot maintain an equilibrium between them and a dictatorship."
Halevy continued, stating clearly that refusing to serve is, in his eyes, a reasonable course of action.
"There is every ground for refusal. And the fact of the matter is that [Netanyahu] concealed this plan of theirs before the election, and only revealed it after the election... A person who misleads the public on such a key issue might also...mislead the forces who are risking their lives in assessing what [should] be done on the security field."
Benjamin Netanyahu and Zvika Fogel
Expanding on his assessment of Benjamin Netyahu's recent political moves, Halevy began by saying that he is neither a psychologist nor a psychiatrist.
"But," he said, "I believe that the Benjamin Netanyahu of today is not the Benjamin Netanyahu that I knew when he appointed me head of Mossad. I cannot accept that he should continue and lead the country. And I believe therefore that if no solution is found to put this new project of his into wraps and never to be unwrapped, then I think we will be entering a situation of non-constitutional divide."
Finally, the former Mossad head touched on the issue of recent settler riots against Palestinians, as well as the current investigation into MK Zvika Fogel's possible role in inciting settler violence in the town of Huwara.
"I am very concerned because I believe that what happened in Huwara is a disgrace and a shame for Israel. It also only shows how the illness of the Israeli system has seeped into the IDF as well. We have now a general who was only recently commanding a major force in the West Bank who is now a member of parliament. And he said that he believed that the solution for [Huwara would be] simply demolishing the whole village. Here you have an example of the damage done by the policies of the current new government."