Weekly Commentary: Catastrophe for Regime Change - Do the Ends Justify the
Dr. Aaron Lerner 3 March 2023
Warning: This commentary assumes that we are not all pawns in a
four-dimensional chess game of the politicians designed to convince their
supporters to accept compromised judicial reform without punishing them at
the ballot box.
"Only a catastrophe or two will bring down this regime," a roadblocker told
me, "and if some people may die because roads are blocked, that's okay."
This was not some wild-eyed teenager, but rather a middle-aged Israeli who
teaches history at one of the country's elite private schools.
If you listen to Israeli politicians and activists opposing judicial reform
beyond their sound bites, you will find that regime change is the ultimate
There are third parties calling for a halt to judicial reform to avoid an
economic catastrophe. But for them, the question is not whether the addition
of a few truly conservative justices to Israel's Supreme Court would
actually change the legal framework for business operations in the Jewish
As John Maynard Keynes put it, "markets can remain irrational longer than
you can remain solvent." These third parties fear that the market will panic
and that the Israeli shekel will plunge or that the market value of Israeli
companies will collapse. And that's enough for them.
There are two mottos to live by:
"And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord."
"The ends justify the means."
If Lapid, Gantz, and Michaeli met today with Levin and Rothman and hammered
out a workable compromise, the ruling coalition would remain in power, and
these opposition leaders would face the wrath of their bases. That's why
Gantz says he won't negotiate unless there's an open-ended halt to the
legislative process. That's why Lapid doesn't even go that far. And Michaeli
doesn't entertain the possibility of considering any judicial reform under
any circumstances. Amending the legislation is not their goal; regime change
The best path to that is a game-changing catastrophe. People are openly
talking about it:
In the absence of negotiations, the ruling coalition uses its majority in
the Knesset to pass laws, including Basic Laws, in their second and third
readings, which the Supreme Court voids with the Israeli Government
contending that the Supreme Court overstepped its authority. The tempo of
protests reaches a fever pitch, and a tangible financial catastrophe
follows, which profoundly threatens the government's ability to continue
funding the Haredi lifestyle.
"Without flour, there is no Torah." Pirkei Avot 3:21.
The Haredi parties end the crisis by bringing down the government and
forming a ruling coalition with the Left and Center in a deal that preserves
their funding and the passage of a law that effectively provides for Haredis
not to serve in the IDF.
Do the ends justify the means?
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