According to the French Interior Ministry, roughly 1.28 million people protested across the country against President Emmanuel Macron’s planned pension reforms, two weeks ago. This is alongside numerous worker strikes across industries.
Despite this and after votes of no-confidence that failed, Macron still plans on moving ahead with his highly unpopular reform plans.
At the same time, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Paris meeting with Macron, where the French president told the prime minister about his concern for the reforms and what is happening in Israel. Did Netanyahu say anything about his counterpart’s country? Of course not.
Why should foreign leaders not have a say on Israeli domestic issues?
This is a problem. Not because Netanyahu should have given his opinion on France’s internal dilemmas – he shouldn’t have – but that Macron felt empowered to chime in and that Israelis took him seriously.
Without debating the merits of the judicial reforms, of which I am not entirely in favor of and believe should go through a deliberative legislation process. The means by which the international community has attempted to entrench itself in our domestic affairs is horrid. It makes us look like pawns to our enemies and brings into question how much we value our sovereignty.
First of all, we have to recognize that there is slim to no chance that Macron or any of the other global leaders like German Chancellor Olaf Scholz who came out against the reforms, actually took the time to read and investigate the proposed bills. And they shouldn’t. They are leaders of sovereign nations, all with their own domestic issues, such as France’s mass protests amid pension reform.
Recognizing this, Israelis are letting uninformed foreign leaders impact our psyche on issues that are critical to ourselves, not them. And this distracts us from actually working to come together to find a suitable solution to the reforms, as opposed to increasing polarization.
As much as I am disturbed by the way in which the coalition is attempting to push through the reforms, I am equally disgusted by the way the opposition has cried to the international community begging for it to weigh in on our domestic debates like they really even care. It is a weak tactic that makes them look more like babies than leaders.
This in itself is the problem facing politics in Israel today: we have no leadership, so we look abroad for guidance. With this, do we really think we can write a constitution? I don’t think anybody believes that the current Knesset, coalition or opposition, contains even a handful of worthy people to enshrine a constitution into law. They can’t sit at a table together, never mind something bigger.
“Thanks for your input but we can deal with our own issues, just like you should deal with your own.”What Israeli leaders should say to Emmanuel Macron and other foreign leaders
If we had real leaders from both the coalition and opposition, they would tell Macron and other foreign leaders, “thanks for your input but we can deal with our own issues, just like you should deal with your own.”
The writer, a staff member of The Jerusalem Post, is an entrepreneur and Hebrew thinker, known as Osher in Hebrew. A recent oleh, he also helps oversee the start-up ecosystem in Jerusalem with Made in JLM. Twitter: @troyfritzhand