Increasing Numbers of Israelis are Obtaining Foreign Passports After Judicial Reforms

Per a report published by Israeli Channel 12 on February 24, 2023, there has been a sharp increase in Israelis looking to obtain foreign passports. This move has been spurred by the new right-wing coalition government’s recent judicial reforms that many experts believe threatens Israel’s democratic character.

Per a political analyst who was in talks with Channel 12, the current Israeli coalition government’s recently announced reforms have made many Israeli citizens worried about the country’s institutional stability.

This report was published a few days following former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s warning to Channel 12 that Israel is currently on the path to a potential “civil war.”

Per the Palestine Chronicle, the number of Israelis looking to obtain European citizenship has grown significantly after the November 1, 2022 elections. Israelis sending applications for French passports grew by 13%, Portuguese by 68%, and Polish and German passports by 10% in the last two months.

Over the past few weeks, Israel has been rocked by nationwide protests over the government’s decision to reduce the power of the country’s Supreme Court. Instead, the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to replace court judges with individuals who are more aligned with Netanyahu’s governing coalition. 

On February 21, Israel’s Knesset had its first reading of the controversial bill to overhaul the Israeli judiciary. 63 members voted in favor of the bill,  while 47 voted against the legislation.

Netanyahu’s critics have accused him of pursuing these reforms in order to hamstring the Supreme Court, which would allow him to obtain immunity from prosecution. In the last few years, Netanyahu has been wrapped up in several corruption scandals. 

On top of that, Netanyahu’s government has aligned itself with the likes of hard-right settler parties such as Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) to maintain its power. Such parties want to strengthen the Israeli state in order to put it on the path to a one-state solution where Palestinians and other Arab denizens of the country will be fully disenfranchised. 

Should the Israeli hard-right get its way, Israel will be on the path to becoming just another oriental despotic state. At that point, the US will look particularly dumb for its blind support of Israel — a country that is turning into an illiberal ethnostate. 

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