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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 12/26/17

[Video] The specter of a revolution is haunting Israel

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In the midst of it all, one of Israel Police top investigators, Meni Yitzhaki retired last week . He has led the investigations against Netanyahu in recent years, and was repeatedly asked to extend his service and postpone his retirement. In his farewell speech he stated that "we have a wonderful state, which is not corrupt", but he added there were buds of organized crime in government... [xiv] Yitzhaki gained notoriety, when it was revealed that he kept secret files on Member of Knesset...

Also last week, MK Stav Safir (Zionist Union) and former Treasury Ministry Chief Accountant Prof Yaron Zelekha petitioned the Supreme Court, claiming major fraud in the Treasury's accounting systems. They claim that the Treasury is engaged in a major fraud on the Knesset. [xv] Such claims are not new. The novelty here is that Prof Zelekha, an insider, has joined the petition. However, Zelekha's position in this affair is a bit tenuous. On the one hand, he is a vocal critic of government corruption, known for his statement, "a gang of criminals has taken over the State". He is also the author of a book on "macro-economics of corruption". On the other hand, the IT system in question, Merkava, was developed under his tenure (2003-2007) in the Ministry of Treasury. His senior deputy, Yitzhak Cohen , was later (2013) convicted of deceit and breach of trust in relationship to development of the system, where US-based SAP was a major provider (SAP was involved in similar affairs in other nations as well).

The widespread fraud in Israeli e-government system has been repeatedly reported, including IT systems of the courts, [xvixvii] and should be deemed a clear indicator of failure of the legal structure of the regime. [xviii]

At the end of October, newly appointed Supreme Court Presiding Justice Esther Hayut used the opportunity of her swearing in speech to issue a stern warning, claiming attempts were underway to undermine the judiciary. [xix] Hayut was expressing her displeasure with Minster of Justice Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home - right-wing religious party) and the latter's ongoing efforts to curb the power of the judiciary. Israeli judiciary are seen by many, particularly in government, as holding excessive, or even dictatorial power.

Less than three weeks later, MK Nurit Koren (Likud) - one of 9 members of the judiciary appointments committee - lambasted Hayut, saying that "Hayut is calling for a revolution". [xx] The dispute arose on the background of disagreements regarding judicial nominations and appointments.

The justice system has experienced precipitous decline in public trust over the past two decades. [xxi] A recent (unpublished) survey by the Knesset claims that distrust has reached over 80 percent. Similar surveys have been repeatedly published in recent years. Last year, a couple of TV series highlighted corruption of the State Attorney Office and the criminal justice system. Criticism of the justice system has reached a peak in relationship to the Roman Zadorov affair. Zadorov, a Christian Ukrainian construction worker is widely perceived as framed by police, the prosecution and the judiciary in the murder of a 13 year old girl in 2007. [xxii]

On the background of ongoing disputes between the Ministry of Justice and the judiciary, former Presiding Justice Aharon Barak called last year for a judicial rebellion -- mass resignation! [xxiii] Perhaps it is not so surprising, for a figure, regarding whom Judge Richard Posner and Judge Robert Bork found themselves in unusual agreement -- holding Barak world champion of judicial hubris. [xxiv] (Kagan was blasted for lauding Barak as her judicial model in her nomination hearing. [xxv])

It appears that Israel is experiencing an ongoing constitutional crisis - in a nation with no constitution. The three branches of government all appear dysfunctional, and there is no simple remedy in sight. Even if Netanyahu resigns, and his Likud party loses power in the next general election, it is unlikely to change the fundamental system-wide failure.

At this point, IDF remains the only arm of government that continues to generate high levels of trust and support. Therefore, Ehud Barak's warning regarding an IDF/Shin-Bet rebellion may not be so far fetched.


i 2017-12-25 Twitter message by Amit Segal regarding Barak's meeting with Eisenkot

ii 2017-12-23 Barak: Government's policies will lead IDF, Shin Bet to disobey orders | Ynet,7340,L-5060777,00.html

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Dr Zernik's core research pertains to e-government and its significance for Human Rights and Civil Society.

His work won appreciation in Israel and abroad: * Prof Uzzi Ornan - "All power to you! I hope that you see your tremendous efforts (more...)
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