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Israeli lawmaker calls for arrest of opposition members for treason

Rhetoric heating up on both sides as proposed judicial reform takes center stage

MK Zvika Fogel arrives at the Israeli parliament for the opening session of the Knesset in Jerusalem, Nov. 15, 2022. (Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

A Knesset member in the Jewish Power party called for the arrest of members of the opposition on charges of treason after some of them said Israelis should protest and use civil disobedience against the coalition’s proposed judicial reform.

Tzvika Fogel, a former general in the Israel Defense Forces, said that former Prime Minister Yair Lapid, former Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Yair Golan and Moshe Ya’alon “should be arrested.”

“They are the most dangerous people here at the moment,” he said.

“These four are now talking about war… If they were calling for protests, I’d give them every right to protest. But they’re talking in terms of me being an enemy,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s treason, if I wasn’t clear enough.”

Fogel, married and a father of three, is a member of the Israel Defense and Security Forum – an organization that supports annexation of the Jordan Valley. He once said that, “An Arab who throws a stone at a soldier should be shot in the head, a Jew who throws a stone at a soldier should be educated.” [Read more about Fogel and other members of Jewish Power.]

Gantz accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of leading the country “toward civil war” and called for Israelis to cause the nation to “tremble” from protests. Lapid said the proposed changes constitute, war while Golan called for “civil disobedience,” with Ya’alon urging the police chief to defy orders from National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir.

On Sunday, Netanyahu complained that nothing was being done about signs being held at Saturday’s protest that compared the Israeli government and the new justice minister to Nazis.

“When someone does not condemn the comparison of the justice minister to a Nazi and of the government of Israel to the Third Reich, he is the one planting the seeds of disaster,” Netanyahu said. “I call on you, Benny Gantz, take it back, immediately.”

Fogel’s comments to Israel’s Kan broadcaster were also likened to fascism. 

“It was obvious that this would come. In non-democratic countries, the leadership always threatens to arrest opposition leaders,” Lapid said. “This is how democracy falls apart in a day. Ben Gvir says to use water cannons against our protesters, Fogel says Gantz and I should be arrested and thrown in jail for treason, and in Beersheba, a man tries to run over students for rallying and making use of their right to free speech. We will not allow ourselves or our beloved country to be overrun.”

Fogel has been tapped to head the Knesset’s Public Security Committee which will oversee the police force.

Nicole Jansezian is the news editor for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and senior correspondent for ALL ISRAEL NEWS

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