By now you’ve surely heard of the antigovernment protests in Israel triggered by the Netanyahu administration’s dissatisfaction with the powers of the Supreme Court. This is a complex issue, and I don’t have a dog in the fight, but I urge those of you who want such a canid to read up on the issues. Here’s one place to start, but it’s just a start.
My only comment is that if Israel had a constitution, which it doesn’t, these protests would be unnecessary, as the constitution would spell out a separation of powers that would settle the issues. However, it’s too late for that: 7 million quarrelsome Jews (and another 2 million non-Jews) could never decide on a constitution now. That’s instantiated by this old Jewish joke:
Yeshiva University wanted to burnish its image, so, taking a lesson from the Ivy League, decided to start a rowing team. But the crew came in last, and by a mile, in its first race. So the Yeshiva coach sent a scout to watch how the other schools trained for the races.
He came back and reported: “Coach, we have it all backwards. It’s supposed to be eight rowers and one coxswain yelling instructions, not eight coxswains and one rower!”
At any rate, I haven’t seen any demonstrations but one of my fellow travelers, Jay Tanzman, went to them on Sunday and took three videos. (There was no violence.) I’ve put them on YouTube with Jay’s permission and have added Jay’s notes (indented):
There was a main stage (not shown) on which bands and speakers appeared. This clip shows one of several screens set up throughout the area that showed what was happening on stage. I couldn’t gain a high vantage point from which to film to show the scale of the demonstration. However, toward the end of this clip there is an overhead shot, presumably taken by a drone I saw above. If you zoom in, you can see how big the crowd was. The media is saying there were 120,000 attendees (I had guessed 100,000).
At one point, the band played the Israeli national anthem, Hatikvah [“The Hope”], and the crowd instantly stood up and started singing along. It was very moving to watch.
Watching these videos again, I was struck by the plethora of Israeli flags carried by the protestors. They are parading their Israeli-ness while still protesting the government. I doubt that the Jan. 6 insurrection on the Capitol had that many American flags!
Here’s a more professional but less spontaneous version of Hatikvah, performed at “the 68th Israeli Independence Day Torch Lighting ceremony in Jerusalem, May 2016.” There are English subtitles.