Resource Library Articles Israel’s New Government, the Supreme Court and West Bank violence

Israel's New Government, the Supreme Court and West Bank violence

It's been a hectic period in Israel lately, with news stories about new elections, changing the Supreme Court, the end of democracy, terror attacks, West Bank violence, and on and on. I think I can help you understand all of this with a little more clarity.


read
Nic Lesmeister
By Nic Lesmeister

Wow, it’s been a hectic period in Israel lately. I’m sure all of you have started to see various news stories coming from the Land – new elections, changing the Supreme Court, the end of democracy, terror attacks, West Bank violence, and on and on.

There are many good reporters and news sources to follow to get accurate, updated information on topics like this. I’m usually quite slow to write commentary or explainers on socio-political issues, but I think I can help you understand all of this with a little more clarity.

I’m going to cover the three main issues, which are all interconnected:

  • 1. The new right-wing ruling government
  • 2. That government’s controversial proposed judicial reforms
  • 3. The correlated outbreak of terrorism and violence

(Deep breath), okay, let’s do this!

Israel’s new right-wing government

What Happened

On November 1, 2022, after four previous attempts to elect a steady government, Israelis voted for a right-wing majority of parties that could form a government in their parliament structure. (“left wing” and “right wing” in Israeli politics are similar to those same labels in America.) Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu was tasked by the President of Israel to form a ruling majority in the Israeli Knesset. He accomplished this by assembling a coalition of politicians from “Center Right” to “Far Right” on the political spectrum. Most all of these parties are made of up various degrees of observant, religious Jewish leaders.

Many in less conservatively governed countries in the Western world immediately decried the dangers of Bibi’s new “Far Right” allies. As Netanyahu divvied up which politician would oversee which particular ministry (or department) of the government, these cries grew louder. One of the most controversial was the appointment of a “Far Right” politician, Itamar Ben-Gvir, over the office of homeland security. This, many believed, would inflame the already sensitive tensions with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

Learn More

Listen to this excellent podcast by our friend, Robert Nicholson, to get a fantastic explanation of the outcomes of the election.

Watch this fascinating spiritual analysis of the election’s outcome by friend and Israeli Messianic leader Asher Intrater.

Israel’s Judicial Reforms

What Happened

After the new right-wing Israeli government was sworn in, nearly the first policy item they put forth to alter was a series of changes that would reform or restructure Israeli’s Supreme Court. Most legal scholars agree the high court in Israel is one of the most powerful in the world. You must understand that Israel’s high court functions slightly differently than our’s in America. Not only does this court rule on the legality of laws passed by Israeli’s parliament, it also acts as the high court of justice in the function of an “equity court” for Israel’s citizens. Each year, the high court hears nearly 5,000 legal cases brought directly to it from Israeli citizens – Jews, Arabs, Christians, etc.

Because Israel does not have a constitution, the high court has grown over time to be enumerated with power the Knesset no longer feels it should have. The new right-wing government has put forth a few key ways to “reign in the court,” and their political opponents domestic and abroad are claiming it could be the “end of democracy” in Israel. These reforms are still in the process of gaining legal momentum at the time of this blog’s writing.

Learn More

Listen to this very insightful podcast on what these reforms are, if they are needed, and where things could go from here.

Read this blog on the deeper things shifting in Israeli culture, which have created a felt need to change the court (note: it’s in Hebrew, so use Google Chrome browser and translate it).

Terror and Violence in Israel and the West Bank

What’s Happening

This is being answered in the present tense, because it’s an on-going situation right now. On Friday evening, January 27, a Palestinian terrorist murdered seven Israeli Jews who had been praying at their synagogue on Shabbat in Jerusalem. Many feel this terrorist was inspired or motivated for revenge after the Israeli Defense Forces killed nine Palestinians in a terrorism raid in the northern West Bank just the day before. The terrorist attack in Jerusalem was the worst Palestinian terror attack in Israel since 2008.

The tension between Israel and the Palestinians in the West Bank, or Judea and Samaria, has been growing since last summer. Mainly in response to an outbreak of Palestinian terrorism, Israel has been cracking down on terrorist cells/activities in Judea and Samaria more frequently. Unfortunately, these types of scenarios can often lead to an escalation of revenge violence, which leads to more military action, which leads to more terrorism, and on and on it goes. As is often said, when the elephants dance, the grass suffers.

Connecting and Concluding

There is not just one matter that binds these three main issues together. They do involve elements, however, that influence one another. For instance, the new “Far Right” leaders in Netanyahu’s government believe in the need for a stronger police force to quell terrorist violence. They would not have gained these political positions if the general Israeli population did not feel like they did – the need to act more strongly to curb violence. New leaders = new leadership policies = new outcomes. I’m not here to say which is right or wrong, but simply to point out the powerful weight that leaders carry.

Israeli author Micah Goodman once noted that the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be summed up in the primal emotional motivation of both groups: Palestinians are motivated by/from humiliation. Israelis are motivated by/because of fear. Unfortunately, these two emotional roots feed one another in an endless, recurring cycle. Palestinians feel humiliation from Israeli sovereignty, so they attempt to change this by their perceived “heroic” acts of terrorism and jihad. Israelis, suffering from the violence, fear further violence so they respond heavily in ways that unintentionally add more perceived humiliation to the Palestinian quest for sovereignty. The cycle repeats.

Israeli left and right wing political camps are in similar places right now, each characterizing the other with extreme and fear-inducing labels in order to win public opinion to their points of view. Attempting to avoid humiliation, the “other side” retorts, and we’re quickly devolving into a cycle that is only broken by one thing…

Leadership.

This, friends, is the main thing connecting all of these together. And we followers of Jesus can do something about this. We can pray.

The Hebrew Scriptures say “The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9 NLT)

We believe God is wanting to strengthen the hearts of leaders in order to bring the peace, righteousness, and love of His Kingdom into the Land of the Bible.

Read more from these links I shared and pray for Israel.

Nic

By Nic Lesmeister

Director

Gateway Center for Israel

View More Resources By Nic >

Saved for Later
man paint-brush-1