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Netanyahu under withering attack: Biden, media, left-wing activists, Supreme Court blasting him to block legal reform

WATCH VIDEO: My lead commentary on THE ROSENBERG REPORT last night focused on this white-hot battle over Israel’s future

(Photo: Screenshot/The Rosenberg Report/TBN)

JERUSALEM—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu under withering attack from multiple directions.

U.S. President Joe Biden sent his national security advisor to Jerusalem this week to warn Netanyahu to back off legal reform – Bibi’s top legislative priority – or risk rupturing U.S.-Israeli relations.

Israel’s Supreme Court ordered him to fire Deputy Prime Minister Aryeh Deri.

More than 110,000 left-wing Israelis took to the streets last Saturday night, calling Netanyahu a threat to democracy.

And he’s being pummeled in the mainstream media and in the Knesset day after day.

But Netanyahu’s allies say that far from seeking to crush democracy he is actually trying to save democracy from an Israeli “Deep State” fixated on thwarting the will of the people and bringing his right-wing government down.

Who’s right? Who’s wrong? And could Christians here get caught in the crossfire?

This was my central focus on THE ROSENBERG REPORT last night, and my opening commentary is below.

[To watch the full episode, please click here]


Israel is embroiled in the most intense political and social battle I’ve ever seen.

Apoplectic that Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu is back in power, the left-wing media, political, and legal elites are attacking him from every conceivable direction, desperate to bring him down.

Accusing him of trying to impose a one-man tyranny, they’re relentlessly making their case on TV, on the front pages, in the streets, in the Knesset and in the courts. It reminds me of the non-stop war to bring down Donald Trump and stop his conservative reform agenda.

But Netanyahu and his allies are pushing back hard. They say it’s Israel’s “Deep State” that’s trying to crush the will of the people and destroy a democratically-elected government with a clear mandate for reform.

It’s a fight that’s threatening not only to blow up U.S.-Israel relations but Israeli society, as well.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog warned this week, “This powder keg is about to explode. It is a time of emergency, and the responsibility is on all of us” to cool things down.

What exactly is driving this white-hot battle for Israel’s future?

Let’s look at what’s happening, why it matters and why we need to be praying for Israel and her leaders more than ever.

And let’s begin with a Times of Israel headline that captures the heart of the matter: “Netanyahu truly aims to be ‘King Bibi’ now. We must use all legal means to thwart him. Deaf to all warnings, convinced his and the state’s interests are identical, flanked by criminals, extremists, and theocrats, he is hellbent on attaining near-unlimited power.”

I can’t think of a headline that better summarizes the heart of this battle.

Israel’s elites simply hate Netanyahu, see him as a threat and are doing everything possible to bring him and his right-wing government down.

Yet they completely dismiss the fact that Netanyahu is Israel’s longest-serving prime minister for one simple reason: Israelis keep electing him.

Israelis may not agree with everything Bibi says or does.

Nevertheless, they believe he’s the right man for the job.

(Photo: Screenshot/The Rosenberg Report/TBN)

At the center of the current storm: Netanyahu’s campaign vow to fundamentally reform the country’s legal system.

Netanyahu and his allies accuse Israel’s Supreme Court as being a government unto itself, an unelected, unaccountable body whose justices routinely strike down laws they view as “unreasonable,” even though those laws are passed by the country’s democratically elected and thus accountable representatives.

What’s more, Netanyahu and his colleagues question why Israel’s sitting Supreme Court Justices can veto the appointment of new justices.

Imagine, Netanyahu’s allies contend, a scenario in which liberal justices on the U.S. Supreme Court could veto the appointment of conservative jurists like Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett?

How could a conservative-minded public ever pass conservative-minded laws through the legislature if liberal-minded justices could block conservatives from even sitting on the bench?

Netanyahu’s critics argue that his reforms would trample the rights of Israel’s minorities, including Arab Muslims, Christians and others.

What’s more, they warn that a prime minister on trial on three corruption indictments has no business changing the rules of the game.

Adding fuel to the fire: Biden is warning Bibi to back off.

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, who was in Jerusalem this week, told Netanyahu: “We as administration don’t like the direction you’re going in when it comes to legal reform. If democratic values are undermined, it will make it difficult for us to provide unshakable support for Israel.”

But Netanyahu rejects such criticism.

“The claim that legal reform is the end of democracy is completely baseless,” Bibi declared.

(Photo: Screenshot/The Rosenberg Report/TBN)

He adds that he’s open to modifications, saying “the legal reform will pass with broad agreements – it will not pass as it is currently presented.”

Now, Israel’s High Court has just made a move that Netanyahu and his team say prove their point.

On Jan. 18, 10 out of the 11 judges who serve on Israel’s Supreme Court declared that it’s “unreasonable in the extreme” for Netanyahu to appoint a man named Aryeh Deri to serve as deputy prime minister, as well as minister of health and minister of the interior.


Because Deri – leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party – is a convicted criminal. 

In 1999, Deri was found guilty of bribery, spent 22 months in prison, and was banned from serving in the Knesset for 10 years.

In 2021, Deri pled guilty to two counts of tax evasion, was fined approximately $60,000, given a suspended sentence. He wasn’t banned from the Knesset because he promised never to run for office again.

But last year, Deri ran anyway. Then, joined Bibi’s new government in very senior positions.

The High Court cried foul, saying Deri lied and thus is unfit to serve in the Cabinet.

The decision forced Netanyahu this week to ask for Deri’s resignation.

To be sure, many Israelis – including some Netanyahu supporters – believe Deri has no place serving in government. 

Others say that’s immaterial, arguing that every Israeli knew about Deri’s past, yet thousands chose to vote for him anyway and gave his party 11 seats.

That’s democracy, they say, adding that since there’s no law forbidding Deri from serving in the Cabinet, the Supreme Court has no right to block him.

It’s an argument with which the Wall Street Journal editorial board agrees.

Consider excerpts from their recent editorial

  • Every time a right-wing government wins an election these days, the immediate refrain from the dominant global media is that it’s a threat to democracy. Israel’s new government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is getting this treatment now, and a brawl over that country’s Supreme Court illustrates why the issue is more complicated than the media narrative….

  • Israel’s Supreme Court has more power than America’s but without the democratic checks. Unbound by any constitution…Israel’s court strikes down laws that it finds merely ‘unreasonable,’ which can cover most anything. Israel’s court even has a veto on the appointment of new justices, in contrast to the U.S. where the President and Senate share the appointment power….

  • As for the Shas party leader, the Journal noted, “Israel’s Supreme Court….can point to no law that keeps Mr. Deri out of the cabinet, but it still decided to abrogate the democratic process, decapitating the new coalition government that made court reform a campaign issue….”

  • The Journal’s conclusion? “It isn’t ‘anti-democratic’ to think Israel’s Supreme Court needs democratic checks on its power. The danger is that the court will next reject as unreasonable any reforms to the court itself.”

On Thursday night’s episode of THE ROSENBERG REPORT, we went deeper in examining this ferocious effort by the Israeli left to bring down Netanyahu and his government – and to prevent them from reforming the Israeli legal system.

ALL ISRAEL NEWS senior correspondent Tal Heinrich – who also is the producer of my TBN show – conducted fascinating and exclusive interviews with an expert on each side of the debate.

Professor Gadi Taub is a prominent Israeli historian and political commentator, and one of the leading voices arguing that Israel’s legal system is not only unfair and undemocratic but unjust, and must be urgently reformed to let the will of the people be legislated.

Professor Alan Dershowitz is a leading American expert on constitutional law. He recently flew to Israel to meet personally with Netanyahu to warn him that his proposed legal reforms are not only flawed but dangerous because they will bring widespread international condemnation and could threaten the rights of minorities in Israel.

It’s a story we’re continuing to track closely on ALL ISRAEL NEWS because it has become such a huge issue all across Israel.

[To watch the full episode of THE ROSENBERG REPORT, please click here]

Joel C. Rosenberg is the editor-in-chief of ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and the President and CEO of Near East Media. A New York Times best-selling author, Middle East analyst, and Evangelical leader, he lives in Jerusalem with his wife and sons.

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