Despite its conflict with Palestinians, Israel is the most advanced democracy in the Middle East. No other country of this area in the world has a degree of free elections, freedom of speech, separation of state powers, and individual rights as in Israel.
Some examples include the fact that 20% of Israeli citizens are Arabs and there is an Islamic party, the United Arab List, that has representation in Parliament, and this Arab party was also part of a short-lived coalition that ruled Israel in 2021. In other Arab countries, the percentage of Jewish population is close to zero, and they are second-class citizens, when some decades ago its size was between 5 and 10% in many cases. In Israel, the unions of same sex people are recognized and they can adopt children, whereas in many Arab nations, including Gaza, homosexual acts are harshly punished.
Worldwide Zionists defend Israel's existence and policies arguing that "there is a big number of Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist states in the world, where people of those religions can have the guarantee that their faith will not be persecuted, but Jews do not have that". On the other hand, its critics say it is an occupying force in Palestine, handles the population there with oppression, is a tool of US expansive foreign policy, and is guided by an extremist religious perspective.
Except for 2021, Israel has been led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since 2009, a conservative skillful political hawk that has been officially indicted on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, by making deals with Israeli billionaires. In the last elections of 2022, Netanyahu secured a majority in Parliament by making an alliance with very religious and nationalistic parties, which has resulted in the most extreme-right government the Jewish country has ever had.
Violent protests have erupted these days because the government of Netanyahu is passing a law that would diminish the power of the judicial system:
• After the Supreme Court has made a decision, a simple majority in parliament would be able to overrule it.
• The government would have a decisive say over who becomes a judge, including in the Supreme Court, by increasing its representation on the committee which appoints them.
• Ministers would not be required to obey the advice of their legal advisers, guided by the attorney general, which they currently have to by law.
• The authority to declare the Prime Minister as incapacitated will only belong to the government or the Parliament, and will only occur due to physical or mental illness. In other words, the possibility of impeaching the leader of the country would almost disappear.
This new bill is very connected with the policy of Netanyahu's extreme-right government of expanding Jewish colonies in the Palestinian West Bank. The bill would protect even more the leader of executing such policies, which are prohibited according to international law because it is considered an occupied territory.
The protests have become more intense this week since the Defense Minister was fired after criticizing the law following massive statements by soldiers of Israel's Defense Forces expressing that they will refuse to comply with their military duties because the country will turn into a dictatorship.
Currently, the residence of Netanyahu is being surrounded by an angry crowd, a big strike is planned that will include major airports and seaports, hospitals, banks, Israeli Embassies around the world, and big multinational companies in the country like McDonald's.
Netanyahu has reacted by showing some signs of moderation, as the stakes are very high, because Israel is on the verge of losing its democracy status.