Israel’s proclaimed status as the only democracy in the Middle East is coming into question as enraged Israelis take to the streets to protest the governments’ most recent proposals. Netanyahu’s controversial right-wing government’s attempt to overhaul the judiciary has intensified polarization and widened the longstanding gaps between the right and left as well as the secular and the religious segments of society. The proposed law, which would allow the government to override court decisions by a simple majority and make its own judicial appointments, has already passed votes in a session of the Knesset Law and Constitution Committee to go to its first reading at the Knesset on February 20th, supposedly leaving time for the sides to attempt a negotiation process.
However, as trust in political parties and the formal democratic process has declined, protesting until the decision is reversed appears to be the left’s only option as protests continue for the seventh week. Still, whether the outcome is a reversed decision or a prolonged negotiation process, the current situation has arguably been a catalyst for a societal transformation that may have been long overdue for Israelis. For years, many have been asking “what happened to the Israeli left?” but the process currently unfolding may have greater implications. The question now is, how significant is this transformation, to what extent can it penetrate and reshape some of the most deeply rooted elements of Israeli political culture and what impact could this potentially have on the conflict with Palestine?