Calls for Civil Unrest Ring Out in Israel’s Knesset

Just days after protest leader calls for Netanyahu’s assassination, opposition MK urges the people to rise up against the government.

By Ryan Jones | | Topics: Benjamin Netanyahu
Opposition lawmaker Ofer Kasif added oil to the fire on Tuesday by calling for civil unrest in Israel.
Opposition lawmaker Ofer Kasif added oil to the fire on Tuesday by calling for civil unrest in Israel. Photo: Oren Ben Hakoon/Flash90

An opposition lawmaker on Tuesday used the Knesset podium to urge citizens of the nation to civil unrest against what he called the “dictatorship” of the new Netanyahu government.

MK Ofer Kasif (Hadash) was quickly removed by Knesset ushers, but his act of public incitement further fueled fears that Israel is inching closer to civil war.

“In light of the current emergency situation, I call for civil unrest…” Kasif said before being interrupted by Deputy Speaker Nissim Vettori (Likud), who called on Knesset ushers to forcibly remove Kasif from the plenum.

The few lawmakers present at the time then erupted in a shouting match, with Kasif and fellow opposition MKs labeling the coalition members as “fascists.”

Kasif is the only Jewish member of an Arab political party, so coalition members from the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, many of whom are fluent in Arabic, responded with Arabic slurs.

Vettori later explained that while freedom of expression is protected in the Knesset, he wasn’t about to let use the podium to incite civil unrest and “harm the symbols of the state,” in reference to the recently-elected government.

Kasif later complained that his democratic rights had been violated, and that he and the opposition would “not rest” until they brought down the “dictatorship” currently governing Israel.


Crossing the line

Israel was rocked last week when prominent figures in the anti-government movement began openly calling for armed violence, and some even encouraged the assassination of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

This incitement followed weeks of mass demonstrations against the government, which were themselves sparked by calls for civil disobedience from opposition leaders Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz.

The harsh reaction to the new religious right-wing government and its proposed policies has shed a light on just how deep the rifts in Israeli society run.


Democracy on the line

While Netanyahu’s opponents claim they are protecting democracy from him, supporters say it’s the other way around – that the opposition is harming democracy by refusing to accept the results of a fair election.

After years of political deadlock that saw Israelis go to the polls five times in three years, Netanyahu and his religious right-wing allies won a decisive victory in November of last year, controlling a combined 64 out of the Knesset’s 120 seats. By Israeli standards, that’s a firm majority.

And that victory came on the back of a campaign that made clear the new government’s intentions, including sweeping judicial reform.

In other words, a majority of the Israeli electorate supports these policies, or at the very least voted for parties they knew would support them in exchange for other benefits.

Which raises the question: Which side is currently behaving undemocratically?

But a more worrying question is where is this all leading?

All it takes is for one deranged individual to take up the call to assassinate Netanyahu. If, heaven forbid, that were to happen, there is no telling how the other side might respond. But given the hostility that has grown between the two sides in recent decades, and the fact that a plurality of voters are ardent supporters of Netanyahu himself (some even view him as “king”), the end result would be catastrophic for the Jewish state.


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2 responses to “Calls for Civil Unrest Ring Out in Israel’s Knesset”

  1. LarryFreeman says:

    Seeing this everywhere there is liberal democracy. The left uses the tactics of Marx and all the others. The left love to spout about a so called rules based international community but they themselves are not rules based. Anarachy is thier m-o.

  2. Lois Heal Bright says:

    Your writing brought to mind a dream I had in 1968. My husband and I were in Israel; it was midday and yet I saw a huge star shining over the city with a line of light extending upward and downward from the star. A wriggling line of light approached and crossed over the star, causing an immediate eruption of criss-crossing lines of light that obscured the star and the upward and downward line of light. I knew the meaning: Satan had confused the grace of God to the Jewish people.

    Satan knows his defeat at Calvary (Hebrews 2:14), therefore he works hard to disguise and bring hatred toward the Lord Jesus Christ.

    God promises us His redemption and His protection when we acknowledge and obey God’s Holy One, of whom God speaks: “My Angel”, (Ex. 23:23); “the Holy One of Israel, your Savior”, (Isa. 43:3); “the Messenger of the Covenant”, (Mal. 3:1); “The Lamb of God [Jesus Christ] who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).

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