Netanyahu's "judicial amendments" plan, and the resulting political and societal polarization in the form of a widening protest movement, not only exposed Israel's structural weakness and highlighted Israel's social dilemmas, but also deepened and broadened these weaknesses, and generated other serious security, military, economic, and social challenges.

The "judicial amendments" plan was put forward to achieve three main goals: to provide a legal path that exempts Netanyahu from prosecution in corruption cases, and to enable the religious-nationalist right-wing forces to sign their plans aimed at resolving the conflict with the Palestinian people with the least amount of legal resistance, including enacting legislation and taking racist decisions towards the Palestinians of the interior. The plan also aimed to remove obstacles to Haredi movements from imposing religious coercion on society, legitimizing further material gains for their constituencies while ensuring that Haredi movements continued to evade military service and contribute to the labour market.

The Israeli government's push to pass the "judicial amendments" plan sparked an unprecedented mass protest movement. According to estimates by Israeli Police Inspector General Kobi Sheftai, some 4,700,<> settlers participated in the mass protests against the "judicial amendments," a huge number by all standards and half of Israel's population.

The most dangerous test of the legitimacy of the Netanyahu government will be the decision soon to be taken by the Supreme Court on petitions against the passage of the first law of judicial amendments.

The outbreak of the protest movement had political, military, social and economic implications, contributing to the further erosion of Israel's strength, which, if sustained with this momentum, would pose a threat to Israel's very existence. These effects can be summarized as follows:

Erosion of government legitimacy

The protest movement against the "judicial amendments" has contributed to the erosion of the political legitimacy of the Netanyahu government. This is evidenced by the fact that former Israeli leaders have not hesitated to call for the rejection of the government's decisions and instructions. Former Prime Minister and IDF Chief of Staff Ehud Barak explicitly called on the army and security forces not to bow to the government's instructions to label its decisions "illegal."

The erosion of the Government's legitimacy was exemplified by the phenomenon of refusing to perform military service in the reserve forces in protest against the passage of judicial amendments. Thousands of officers and soldiers of the reserve forces have announced the cessation of military service, especially those of the Air Force, Israel's strike force. Since the reserve forces carry out 70% of the war effort in Israel, the widespread phenomenon of refusal of military service will threaten the ability of the occupation army to perform its defensive and offensive tasks. IDF Chief of Staff Herzli Halevy acknowledged that the army's efficiency and readiness to fight wars had already declined as a result of the growing phenomenon of refusal to serve in the military.

The most dangerous test of the Netanyahu government's legitimacy will undoubtedly be the Supreme Court's decision soon on petitions against the passage of the first judicial amendment, which eliminated judicial oversight of government decisions. If the court accepts the petitions and overturns the law, as is widely expected, and the government rejects the court's decision, as several of its ministers threaten, Israel will face an unprecedented constitutional crisis with far-reaching political and security repercussions.

In this case, the commanders of the army and other security institutions are likely to declare their commitment to the court's decision, effectively implying that they are not complying with the government's decisions, and will deliver Israel into a state of chaos that will completely paralyze it. An example of the government's declining legitimacy is the lack of hesitation of the leadership of the protest movement against the judicial amendments in approaching foreign governments, demanding that they intervene and exert pressure on Netanyahu to stop passing the judicial amendments even if it is related to imposing sanctions on Israel, as explicitly called for by former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Deepening societal rift

The protest movement against the judicial amendments contributed to the deepening and widening of the societal rift because it was devoted to the confrontation between the mass sectors that support it, which includes mainly the ultra-Orthodox Mizrahi and the ultra-Orthodox and the sectors that reject it, which include mainly secularists. Secularists see their struggle to thwart the judicial amendments as a fateful battle, which has made them reluctant to challenge supporters of the amendments by organizing protest activities in their settlement communities, as reflected in their demonstrations in Bnei Brak, the largest Haredi city. The matter reached the point of rejecting the amendments to the extent of storming synagogues and biblical courts, and confusing worshipers and visitors as supporters of the judicial amendments and beneficiaries of them.

There have often been clashes between supporters and opponents of the amendments, with participants in demonstrations rejecting the amendments subjected to vehicular attempts by supporters. Former Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman warned that widening societal rifts following judicial amendments could pave the way for a fierce civil war.

Israeli technology and cyber companies are subject to sale and acquisition due to their inability to make profits due to the hardship that this sector is going through after the introduction of judicial amendments

At the same time, the introduction of judicial amendments has fueled calls for reverse immigration out of Israel. A number of doctors have overseen campaigns to persuade their colleagues to leave Israel and work abroad in protest against the judicial amendments, which have received a great response, at a time when Israel suffers from a severe shortage of doctors and medical staff.

Aggravation of economic conditions

The judicial amendments have caused great damage to the investment environment in Israel because they have affected the confidence of foreign investors on whose investments technology and cyber companies depend, knowing that the exports of these companies represent a large share of the revenues earned by the Israeli treasury. According to the economic newspaper "Globes", 80 Israeli technology and cyber companies are subject to sale and acquisition due to their inability to make profits due to the hardship that this sector is going through after the introduction of judicial amendments.

In an effort to salvage what can be saved, an Israeli economic delegation flew to the United States this week to try to persuade U.S. investment funds to invest in the domestic market. The phenomenon of withdrawing deposits from Israeli banks abroad has also surfaced. Declining confidence in the Israeli economy has contributed to the significant decline in the value of the shekel relative to the dollar.

The magnification of the effect of the resistive action

The launch of the "judicial amendments" plan and its various consequences coincided with an increase in the pace of Palestinian resistance action, especially in the West Bank. There have been shifts in the nature of the resistance action that have made it more influential on the Israeli security reality. The death toll among Israeli soldiers and settlers in 2023 as a result of resistance operations was the largest since the end of the second intifada in 2004.

The transformations included the extension of the resistance action to all areas of the West Bank, the development of its tools and its submission to effective command and control systems, specifically in the northern and central areas of the West Bank, in a way that allows groups of resistance fighters to manage comprehensive confrontations with the occupation army with a great deal of efficiency. The initial attempts of the resistance to produce rockets and fire them towards settlements in the West Bank herald a radical change in the rules of engagement with the occupation.

It is expected that the consequences of judicial amendments will contribute to increasing the impact of the act of resistance. The decline in the efficiency of the occupation army and its combat readiness due to the widespread phenomenon of refusal of military service will reduce Israel's ability to confront the resistance in the medium and long term, especially if a multi-arena confrontation erupts.

Needless to say, societal fractures and the erosion of the Israeli government's internal legitimacy are reducing the government's ability to manage the confrontation against Palestinian resistance.

Weak security response

For seven years, right-wing elites have been campaigning to expel African refugees who came to Israel in "illegal" ways, particularly through infiltration across the border, justifying their arrival in Israel by the threat to their lives from the civil wars raging in their countries or the result of repression by the regimes there.

The recent confrontations between Eritrean refugees and the occupation police demonstrated the impact of judicial amendments on the Israeli security reality after the police were unable to respond efficiently and quickly to the riots.

The vast majority of African refugees reside in the area south of Tel Aviv, an Israeli right-wing stronghold. Successive Israeli governments have refused to accept these Africans as refugees, accepting them to remain temporarily until they can find a solution that guarantees their departure from Israel. Israel's ruling political elites have made it clear that eliminating the presence of African refugees is vital to ensuring continued Jewish demographic superiority. Israel has tried to use its relations with some African countries to try to convince it to take in these refugees, with little success.

But despite the uproar Israel is making about African refugees, especially after recent clashes between Eritrean refugees and police, there are doubts about how seriously it will get rid of them. Due to the acute shortage of labour and the refusal of Jews to work in physically demanding occupations, the Israeli authorities turn a blind eye to the presence of African refugees, allowing them to work in these fields.

The recent confrontations between Eritrean refugees and the occupation police have demonstrated the impact of the judicial amendments on the Israeli security reality. The occupation police, which exhausted its capacity to secure demonstrations against judicial amendments, as well as other security challenges, was unable to respond efficiently and quickly to the riots organized by Eritrean refugees, despite their limited geographical scope and prior intelligence.

The widespread protest movement against the judicial amendment plan has allowed the spotlight to be on the erosion of Israel's military, economic, and social power. All indications are that continuing to cling to this plan will lead to threats to Israel's very existence.