A Breaking Point

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TPM Reader OM responds to my post on the running constitutional crisis in Israel …

One question you discuss is whether the protests are trying to block an elected gov’t from doing what it was elected to do. The campaign that Netanyahu and his far-right allies ran was focused heavily on two things: (1) soaring cost of living, and (2) rising crime, especially in the Arab sector of Israeli society. They promised to crack down on crime, return a sense of security, the usual thing right-wing parties promise. They said not a word about “judicial reform” (i.e., the anti democratic regime change). 

A slim momentary majority elected to deal with other problems decides to fundamentally change the rules of the democratic game without prior notice, without any kind of public consultation, not even a fake committee of hand-picked experts, and all very rapidly, before anyone can mobilize: a kind of blitzkrieg politics. To my great surprise, the normally dormant Israeli public rose up in truly unprecedented numbers not seen before for any protest, right- or left-wing. 

Demographically: yes, you’re right, the future is almost certainly for the secular-liberal current majority to become a minority, but not quite yet. Having predicted this inevitability, I decided long ago to leave the country: born and raised in Israel, I left the country in 2007 to do my PhD in Canada and never went back. If the protests fail, we will almost certainly see a mass departure of the backbone of the Israeli economy and crucial sectors: the IT people, but also doctors and many other middle-class university-educated professionals able to work abroad. That greatly saddens me but the demographic trend is so one-sided (about 2.3 kids for people like me, high by Western standards, but 4+ to 7+ on average for the settler right and the ultra orthodox) that there seems to me no hope in the long term. 

I hope this was illuminating – sorry it was so long, as a university prof I struggle to keep things brief. 

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