Twelve hours before the High Court of Justice hearing in the matter of serial criminal and cabinet minister Arye Dery, the veteran consigliere who rose to prominence moved quickly and, following Mafia custom, sent an explicit threat to the justices: Your honors can go to hell. Yariv Levin sent them not a bloody horse’s head nor goons in a dark alley, but rather a package of “reforms.” Just “by chance,” two of them refer directly to the matter of Dery issue: They make his possible disqualification a joke and the hearing scheduled for Thursday purely academic.
Enacting legislative override with an absolute majority – that is, at least 61 of Israel’s 120 Knesset members – and revoking the principle of reasonableness are Dery Reform 1 and Dery Reform 2. They join the corrupt Dery law that a coalition of the corrupt, headed by the chief of the corrupt and the corrupting, Benjamin Netanyahu, sneaked through the legislature. To these we shall add the revocation of the independence of the legal advisers of the government ministries and the conversion of these to “persons of trust” (about 30 consiglieri), resulting in a government without any checks and balances, morals or reins, that will do anything and everything that crosses its crude mind.
By the way, the institution of ministry legal advisers was created by and in the image of the late Israeli Supreme Court President Justice Meir Shamgar about 50 years ago. He determined that these legal advisers would be chosen by and subordinate to the attorney general. Shamgar fought in Etzel, the pre-state underground militia led by Menachem Begin, and was a man of the right, but above all he was a man of principles and integrity. (He also introduced the Dery-Pinchasi precedent, which will be tossed in the trash Thursday by the bullies of “governance,” Netanyahu and Levin.) Shamgar’s legacy was disgraced Wednesday, just as Levin disgraced the legacy of Begin merely by opening his mouth to speak.
The night of January 4, 2023 will go down in history as the beginning of the regime coup in Israel, on its way to becoming a clone of Hungary/Poland/Russia/Turkey. A democratically elected government is assassinating democracy, for the glory of so-called democracy (“the people have had their say” and so on), on the way to the next step, the annulment of Netanyahu’s trial. The reform in his matter will probably be called: “splitting the position of attorney general.” It will include the creation of a new position: a “general prosecutor” who will be chosen by the government and whose first task will be to delay proceedings in Netanyahu’s prosecution for corruption.
Levin was previously quoted as saying that the collective resignation of 15 Supreme Court justices does not scare him. Perhaps in his heart he wishes for it. Just as Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich may wish in their hearts for a huge conflagration in the region that would perpetuate the occupation and precede Nakba II, on the grounds that “Those Arabs understand only force.” Ben-Gvir and Levin are two sides of the same coin. The sworn pyromaniac’s visit to the Temple Mount passed peacefully for the time being. The plan that Levin presented on prime-time news Wednesday evening will cause just as much, and probably more damage than the riots to which we’ve become accustomed.
Only a week since the cabinet was sworn in and four days after the handover of government ministries, and the picture grows clearer: They came to make changes. Scandalous job appointments are gleefully thrown about like candy at the head of a bar mitzvah boy.
Ofir Akunis justified the persistent rumors about how he became a minister (of science, technology and innovation) with his ridiculous appointment of Osnat Mark as the ministry’s director general. Mark, who even Likud officials saw as unfit to serve in the Knesset (and their bar is set quite low), is a favorite of Sara Netanyahu. That explains everything. We wouldn’t expect Akunis to appoint a scientist to the office – no serious person would consider serving under him anyway – but Mark is delusional.
The same goes for Miri Regev’s choice as candidate for director general of the Transportation Ministry, which controls billions of shekels – Moshe Ben Zaken, her long-standing political aide. Miri will arrange it all. And if the appointments committee says no, the cabinet will say yes. And if the High Court says no … Wait! It can’t interfere. After all, the principle of reasonableness is on the way to permanent burial.
To the series of violent actions of Israel’s first fascist government we must add the plan to oust the secretary of the Knesset, Dan Marzouk, less than a year after his appointment by Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy. Knesset secretaries have never been ousted when the government changes hands. No similar government has ever served in Israel. Levy’s replacement, Amir Ohana, exhausted his 15 minutes of fame in his LGBTQ coronation speech, a week ago, and went back to being the punk Ohana we always knew.
And on this day, when the walls began to fall, it is impossible not to mention Benny Gantz. The leader of the national unity camp came to the Interior Ministry Wednesday to meet with Dery. Soon after he left, the contents of their discussion was leaked (probably not by Gantz). The goal was clear: to signal to the nine justices that the symbol of governmental propriety gave me his blessing.
Dery and his wily methods are one thing. But when will Gantz, naïve as he is, finally realize that he is being used? Dery calls and he comes. We have known useful idiots in politics, but we never before had one like Gantz.