Tel Aviv (dpa) - The Israeli historian and author Yuval Noah Harari is best known in Germany for his thoughtful explanations of world history.
His book "A Brief History of Mankind" was on the bestseller lists for weeks. Last week, however, his collar apparently virtually burst: "The first coronavirus dictatorship," he scolded on Twitter. "In Israel emergency decrees are issued by someone who has no mandate from the people." Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has lost the election.
Israel has been in an extreme political situation for days - exacerbated by the global corona crisis. The right-wing religious government under Netanyahu broke up in late 2018. Since then, Israel has seen three parliamentary elections, the last one for the time being on March 2. But the political stalemate between the party block around Netanyahu and the center-left camp around his challenger Benny Gantz (blue and white) continues. Negotiations about a grand coalition have so far failed.
Amir Fuchs from the Israeli Democracy Institute says: "It's a constitutional crisis because we haven't had a coalition for a year and a half." On Wednesday, Parliament President Juli Edelstein resigned from the Likud ruling party after massive opposition pressure - and announced the closure of the Knesset by Monday. According to media reports, this brought thousands of people onto the street, protesting in their cars in front of the Knesset.
With his resignation, Edelstein avoided a decision by the Supreme Court to allow the opposition's re-election of the President of Parliament to take place on Wednesday at the latest. He spoke of a "gross and arrogant interference" by the court in parliamentary matters - after he had previously refused to allow the vote to take place.
Fuchs says of the court's interference: «No, it is the opposite. If there are (a majority of) 61 people who want to vote, the Knesset court helps, it does not fight against Parliament. » Edelstein misused his authority in the sense of the Likud or in his sense. The Supreme Court appointed Amir Perez, the chairman of the opposition Labor Party, as President of the Parliament late Wednesday night, according to media reports.
Fuchs says: «I see it as a big problem that they (the members of the interim government) are trying to close the Knesset. If they had the majority, they would not do it. ». With the support of the other opposition parties, Blau-Weiß currently holds a razor-thin majority of 61 MPs in the parliament in Jerusalem. Together they strive to elect a parliamentary president from among their own ranks.
The opposition parties also want to introduce a law according to which an accused member of parliament cannot be commissioned to form a government in the future. If the law were passed, Netanyahu could not become prime minister if he was re-elected because of his corruption charges - a horror scenario for the Likud-led interim government.
Last week, Edelstein had temporarily closed the parliament, thereby delaying the appointment of parliamentary committees until Monday. Gantz accused Edelstein of acting on the instructions of his party friend Netanyahu. Blue and white also criticized that during this crisis, Israel was governed by a transitional government without parliamentary and legal control that used the corona crisis for its purposes.
Fuchs says: "Especially with regard to the Knesset, they use the corona crisis to delay the functioning of the parliament." Netanyahu also uses the almost nightly appearances at prime time for self-promotion. However, he does not assume that the requirements for the population, such as the exit restrictions, are made for political reasons, says Fuchs. "I think they're trying to do their best there." It is also understandable that the start of the corruption proceedings against Netanyahu due to the Corona crisis, which was planned for mid-March, was postponed.
During the current exceptional situation, Fuchs fears that Israeli democracy will not be destroyed. "I don't think we'll have a dictatorship because of the Corona crisis," says the scientist, contradicting author Harari. "But we have to be careful, because democracy is undermined in emergency situations."
Link from Yuval Noah Harari