ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 148

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Minister accuses security chiefs of acting in ‘rebellion’ against current government

Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu of far-right Otzma Yehudit party claims the right-wing government is ‘unable to carry out its policies’; Lapid: Prove your assertion or resign

Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu arrives at a meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on January 29, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu arrives at a meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on January 29, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Amid a wave of terror attacks and rocket launches on several fronts, a government minister appeared Sunday to accuse top security officials of “rebelling” against the current coalition and preventing it from being able to carry out the campaign promises it had made on security issues.

Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu, of the far-right Otzma Yehudit party, published a lengthy social media post on Sunday blaming the 1990s Oslo Accords with the Palestinians for bringing “destruction in a shiny wrapping of a peace” in an anti-democratic fashion, “exactly like today.”

Eliyahu claimed that the havoc wreaked by the Oslo Accords can’t be changed “in a day and also not in three months” — the approximate time that has passed since the current government was sworn in. “Those who brought us Oslo… are prepared to support refusal to serve [in the IDF], to sacrifice the loyalty of pilots, the economy of the State of Israel and the personal security of every one of us.”

In response to his post, a woman tweeted at Eliyahu that she was angry at his words, since he was essentially claiming that the government could never enact the things it had promised during the campaign.

In response, the minister wrote that he and his colleagues were “still promising” the same things, but it’s more complicated “when you have in the country officials in the security establishment who operate in ‘rebellion’ mode — something nobody could have imagined. We all have to mobilize for the task more wisely.”

Opposition leader Yair Lapid said in response that “a government minister who accuses the heads of the security establishment of rebellion must prove that he is correct or be kicked out of his post the same day.” Lapid added that such “incitement against the security establishment is out of control.”

Opposition leader Yair Lapid speaks during a Yesh Atid faction meeting at the Knesset, on March 20, 2023. (Erik Marmor/Flash90)

Yesh Atid MK and former Knesset speaker Mickey Levy said that an “inciting and scandalous statement against security establishment officials — especially during a time of security chaos — cannot stand… the time has come for a limit to the madness and tyranny of the members of this terrible government.”

In Eliyahu’s original post, he blamed the Oslo Accords on a group of people “who did not receive the mandate from the public.” This unspecified group, the minister claimed, was “backed by the media and a sympathetic legal system,” and “just like today… bought the 61st mandate through political bribery.”

In 1993, the Knesset voted 61-50 to narrowly back the already signed accords. The current government controls 64 of the 120 Knesset seats.

For 30 years, Eliyahu claimed, “the citizens of Israel have elected right-wing governments and not gotten what they want, because the government is unable to carry out its policies — as everyone sees today.”

Eliyahu continued by saying that a change can only happen if the “right-wing and religious public” will take control of key positions “and not allow anti-democratic groups to take Israeli democracy captive.”

The minister’s post came the same day that a leaked US intelligence document claimed that senior Mossad officials encouraged spy agency members and citizens to protest the government’s judicial overhaul plans.

Protesters rally against the government’s judicial overhaul plans, at the Azrieli junction in Tel Aviv, on April 8, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

The Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement on behalf of the Mossad denying the reports as “completely false and absurd.”

“The Mossad and its incumbent officials did not deal at all with the issue of the protests, and have remained loyal to the value of stateliness that have guided the Mossad since its establishment,” the statement concluded.

Mass protests against the government’s judicial overhaul plan have been ongoing for 14 weeks, continuing even after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced last month a pause in the legislation to allow for talks with the opposition.

Backlash against the government caused thousands of IDF reservists to say they would not turn up for service if the overhaul plan was fully implemented, sparking fierce backlash from the government and accusations of betrayal. The IDF chief and the defense minister have warned that pushing through the legislation without broad consensus could cause serious damage

Yair Netanyahu, the prime minister’s oldest son, has accused the CIA of backing the protests, and a senior source in the Prime Minister’s Office has claimed the US government is paying the protest movement, charges the Americans have repeatedly dismissed as absurd.

The judicial overhaul proposals by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition aim to weaken the court’s ability to serve as a check on parliament, as well as give the government almost absolute control over the appointment of judges.

Critics say the plans will politicize the court, remove key checks on governmental power and cause grievous harm to Israel’s democratic character. Proponents of the measures say they will rein in a judiciary that they argue has overstepped its bounds.

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