The Regime in Israel: Borderline Authoritarian State Headed Toward Dictatorship

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The report From Borderline Authoritarian State to Dictatorship sketches the process that threatens to eliminate Israeli democracy. It consists of three chapters: the intensification of authoritarianism under Netanyahu’s tenure from 2009 to 2021, the regime revolution launched in his third premiership, and operative recommendations on how to fight this process.

It is part of a larger project outlining the direction Israel has been following since 2009. First came the report Pseudo Democracy: State of the Regime in Israel, published ahead of the elections to the 25th Knesset. Then followed our conference at the Einav Center in Tel Aviv with the participation of academics, protest activists, and former Knesset members who took part in the Emergency Call-Up Order campaign.

It all illustrates the fact that Israel has never been a model of liberal democracy and that over the years, especially since Netanyahu’s second premiership, the authoritarian aspects of the regime have intensified. Since 2009, the Israeli government has taken steps to limit the country’s democratic institutions whose role is to balance the state, such as the Knesset, the judiciary, the media, and civil society organizations. In addition to the infringements upon the independence of the authorities and the gatekeepers, the current report lists the steps taken by the government to harm minority groups, primarily Israel’s Arab citizens, and to preserve the power of the majority.


The launching of Netanyahu’s third premiership upon the establishment of Israel’s 37th government was accompanied by declarations by his cabinet ministers about a number of unilateral legislative initiatives aimed at abolishing the independence of the judiciary and strengthening the government’s power.  These bills and the coalition agreements signed upon the formation of the government reveal that the latter’s intention is not only to change the rules of the game in a democratic regime, but to abolish them altogether and replace them with a full authoritarian regime, headed by a ruler-for-life and a single ruling party propped by “puppet” parties.




Dr. Maha Sabbah Karkabi


Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Tel Aviv University (2015), a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Gender Studies, SOAS, University of London (2015-2016), a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Sociology at Tel Aviv University (2016-2017), and a postdoctoral fellowship Ph.D. at the Humphrey Institute for Social Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (2018-2020).
Dr. Maha Karbahi’s areas of interest focus on the connection between social change, family behavior, and gender inequality in societies in the process of change and specifically in Palestinian Arab society in Israel. Her research draws attention to the study of family life and employment, using a combined “ethnic lens” and “gender lens” and paying attention to the perspective of Palestinian Arab women, a group characterized by intersections between multiple marginal locations, which over the years has remained hidden from the research eye. Dr. Karkabi-Sabah’s research is published in professional journals and chapters in scientific books that are considered pioneers in family research, work, and gender equality.


Prof. Frances Raday

Professor Emeritus in the Lieberman Chair in Labor Law, in the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University and serves as a full professor in the College of Management’s academic track, where she also serves as chair of the graduate program and as honorary president of the Concord Center for International Law Absorption. Radai was a member of a working group of the UN Human Rights Council on discrimination against women. In addition, she is a prominent and feminist human rights activist.


Dr. Rawia Aburabia 

Faculty member of Sapir Academic College’s School of Law, received her PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her research deals with the interface between law, gender, minorities, and human rights. Has published in leading journals on the subject of the matrimonial laws pertaining to Muslim women in Israel. Her book Under the Law, Outside Justice: Polygamy, Gendered Citizenship, and Colonialism in Israeli Law is expected to be published as part of the Gender Series of Kibbutz Meuhad Publishing House.

Dr. Aburabia has extensive experience in international human rights and public law. She has worked as a jurist for the Association for Civil Right and has been invited as a specialist to address such international forums as the United Nations and the European Parliament on the subject of indigenous communities and minority rights. She has interned with Human Rights Watch in Washington DC, and has been a member of the executive board of Amnesty International. In 2018, she was selected by the magazine Globes as one of the 40 most promising young persons in Israel under the age of 40.



Ron Kessler

With over two decades of experience in the field of digital content, Ron has participated in numerous political and social campaigns. He helped run the digital activity of senior public officials, and worked in various NGOs. Ron is a fundamentally optimistic man, who believes that Israel can be changed and so can people. Lives in Tel Aviv.