Netanyahu's new government is a threat to Israel's institutions

Opinion: After the courts and the police have been handed over to far-right, aiming to destroy them, Netanyahu allies are now aiming for the military and no attempt to calm these fears should be taken seriously

Nahum Barnea|
Now that the outcome of the battle for the police has been determined in favor of the convicted terrorist and his group of hooligans, attention has now shifted to the rest of the national institutions.
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  • The immediate targets are the Supreme Court and judicial system, with the state prosecution being on top of the agenda.
    4 View gallery
    הפגנה ליגוד נגד מערכת המפשפט בעד בנימין נתניהו ב כיכר הבימה תל אביב
    הפגנה ליגוד נגד מערכת המפשפט בעד בנימין נתניהו ב כיכר הבימה תל אביב
    Netanyahu supporters demonstrate against the judicial system
    (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
    But, it may surprise some to learn that the intended justice minister, Likud's Yariv Levine, is the most misleading member of the incoming government. Levine will perhaps not carry fuel to ignite fire in the West Bank, he is far too polite. But, in his own way, he is no less radical than Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir - who are leading Netanyahu toward the abyss.
    Another institution to be targeted will be Israel's internal security agency, Shin Bet, and specifically its department responsible for Jewish terrorism.
    The authority given to Ben-Gvir in his coalition agreement with incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cast doubt on any government decision pertaining to West Bank policies, and the continued security cooperation with the Palestinian Authority.
    There will no doubt be pressure to table legislation to force the Shin Bet to investigate crime in the Arab sector instead of the police, and demand for a different policy toward Palestinian terrorists, including the introduction of the death penalty.
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    איתמר בן גביר שולף אקדח בשייח ג'ראח לאחר שיודו לעברו אבנים
    איתמר בן גביר שולף אקדח בשייח ג'ראח לאחר שיודו לעברו אבנים
    Itamar Ben-Gvir pulls out his gun during clashes in Jerusalem
    (Photo: News of the entire world)
    If the head of the Shin Bet speaks out against such a law, and claim that it would only cause further harm, he will surely be branded a leftist and traitor.
    The final institution the new government will want to reform will be the Israel Defense Forces. A new military chief is scheduled to take over next January, at a challenging time for the military.
    Netanyahu associates have spoken clearly about the incoming prime minister's intent to destroy Iran's nuclear program. Success in this endeavor is doubtful, but they can definitely succeed in bringing Israel to the International Criminal Court.
    In the meantime, policing the territories has torn-up the IDF from within. Last weekend's incident in Hebron, where a soldier was filmed assaulting a left-wing activist, is just the tip of the iceberg.
    I believe that during the term of the new Netanyahu government, more and more young conscripts will favor service in the Intelligence Corps, the Navy, Israeli Air Force - anything to avoid long months of deployment in the West Bank.
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    "שמאלנים אני אשבור לכם את הצורה" - תיעוד: חייל צה''ל תוקף את העיתונאי אלי ביתאן
    "שמאלנים אני אשבור לכם את הצורה" - תיעוד: חייל צה''ל תוקף את העיתונאי אלי ביתאן
    IDF soldier assault civilian left-wing activists in Hebron
    (Photo: Twitter)
    Good men will refuse to sign on for prolonged service, depriving the military of their talent and quality. Would Benny Gantz, Gadi Eizenkot and even Likud's Yoav Galant, all former high-ranking generals, have agreed to participate in a military that fights against civilians? Would they have agreed to join the ranks of soldiers who consider Ben-Gvir to be a hero?
    Even now, the IDF is made up of soldiers from only half of Israel's population. But, the army made up of supporters of Ben-Gvir and Smotrich will not be one of the people, nor will it be one that can win.
    Political analysts and pundits try to assuage concerns. They claim that once in the ministerial chair, these radicals will become more moderate. They will be enamored by their new positions, by their entourage, the attention given to them, the power, money and access to state secrets.
    They cite Ben-Gvir's recent rhetoric, which appeared less inciting as he aimed to attract a wider base of supporters. They evoke the memory of previous governments, which avoided far-reaching policies once faced with the day to day challenges.
    Even Netanyahu has been heard making calming remarks when his new coalition partners are out of hearing distance, and dispatching close allies to do the same.
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    בנימין נתניהו בבית המשפט
    בנימין נתניהו בבית המשפט
    Benjamin Netanyahu in court where he is on trial for corruption
    (Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch)
    Now, he needs to align himself with the radicals in order to escape his criminal trial for corruption, his associates say. Once that has been accomplished, he will cast them aside and return to his more centrist positions.
    Previous coalitions had a range of political views, and the good of the nation was always valued over the personal advantages of any one politician.
    But, this coalition is different. It relies on the support of a public that was educated to reject those holding opposing views and to despise national institutions. A divisive society breeds a divisive rule, as the United States has learned, and now - Israel will also learn it.
    This is no time to remain calm.
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