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.