Israel's internal strife


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In January 1st, 2023, Israel's new and current government was sworn in. That day marked the practical beginning of Israel's free dive. Economical, demographic, security, and social calamities fill up every front page, but also every other page.
An estimated $50 billion in potential revenue were wiped, reservists that form the backbone of the military, especially those in the most critical positions - refuse to serve, and the entire population that forms the military, holds the entire economy, and generates all the high quality manpower, are now actively branded as traitors and anarchists.

One particularly notable calamity that is likely to hit Israel like a brick wall at 200km/h is a US reassessment of relations with Israel.

This here is a Twitter thread by Omer Dank, a former combat navigator in the IAF.
He asserts that Israel's AF is disproportionately powerful due to 3 key factors:
1. A unique array of maintenance capabilities.
2. A unique reserve service and volunteering model.
3. Assistance from the US in the form of monetary aid as well as access to pre-paid technologies and systems.

Pillar #2 is practically gone.
Pillar #3 is now under severe threat.
And pillar #1 won't hold on its own.

The remarks by US ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides, are dangerous for Israel, and they come in response to the Knesset passing in 1st call a law that would nullify the "Reasonables Clause", that currently allows supreme court judges to overrule a government policy or Knesset law by claiming it is unreasonable.
Although it might seem like a minor thing, it is practically the last barrier between democracy and dictatorship in Israel's very fragile system of checks and balances. Since Israel has no constitution, it relies on ad-hoc legislation triggered by momentary needs rather than an organized and well thought system.

Protests nation-wide are ramping up, but they have yet to turn violent. The future is very uncertain, and prospects of overthrowing the government and installing a new one are going to rely on the democratic camp's resolve. Particularly, its ability to turn to more forceful measures if the government won't relent. For now, the approach of a peaceful protest allows the democratic movement to garner more support.


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  • #2
"An Earthquake" - is what Israel's media outlets call the effects of the protest movement on Israel's security.

Over 1,100 air force reservists, including reportedly ~500 pilots, say they will end volunteer duty in protest of judicial overhaul. Back in March, many reservists from all over the IDF, called upon the government to cease its legislative push considered by many, myself included, to be no less than a coup and cancellation of democracy. They threatened to stop showing up for reserve duties in peace time, to lower preparadeness but not cause significant harm. However, as the government did not relent and pushed back to the point of incitement against volunteering reservists, the reservists stepped forward and announced cessation of all reserve duties.

In the IAF, a majority of pilots are reservist volunteers. If a few months ago it could be said the IAF would struggle conducting complex ops like an Iran strike, now even its day to day ops are under threat. This is equivalent to shutting down multiple air wings, including logistical ones that are critical to the operation of ground units.

The context to this drastic measure is PM Netanyahu's speech the night before. Protests ramped up recently, from static protests every saturday night, to "days of disruption" during the week. People expected him to address this by halting the legislative push until wide agreements are met, instead he doubled down.
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In the most simplified terms, this is a struggle between the liberal camp and the conservative camp.

The liberal camp tends to be more secular, and of the middle socio-economical class. It is joined from the left by socialist parties on the current issue, although there is otherwise little ideological overlap between them.

The conservative camp tends to be more religious and hosts a wide variety of religious groups up to ultra orthodox and nationalist religious. It ranges from the lowest to middle socio-economical classes, and is generally uneducated, including about a half (of the conservative camp, in Knesset seats) that lack basic highschool education.

There is a case to be made, that the ruling party Likud contained a large liberal camp which fairly quickly bled over to the other side due to the judicial overhaul. All polls, even the most optimistic for Likud, give the current coalition under 60 seats in the 120 seat Knesset, effectively less than half. Actual figures are in the low 50, with a recent one giving them 53.

Another case to be made is that while the liberal camp is strongly against the judicial overhaul, the conservative camp is relatively emotionally detached from it. They don't seem to have a particular ideological pillar to hold onto in this conflict, instead the larger camp simply stands behind the more extremist elements in it that tow a line of "We were democratically elected, so we will do as we please".

Another key factor is that the government is dead focused on the judicial overhaul but seems unable to handle any other topic or issue, and we can already see the economy, public services, law enforcement, and the army, all collapsing at a rapid rate.
All this contributes to the continuing bleeding of voters from the conservative to the liberal camp.

The following is a map of liberal camp protests (every dot is a protest location):


The following is a map of conservative protest sources (i.e. buses from these locations brought them to a single area).



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First and most important law in the judicial overhaul series - cancellation of the reasonableness clause, passed in 2nd and 3rd reading yesterday. The government is due to push additional laws soon. Typically it takes months between each reading, but the government is pushing this at lightning speed.

Newspapers already posted about a national day of grief.


The protests have started at full speed as far back as January, and so they could not pick up more momentum other than being more frequent and include days of strike and disruption, to which the government didn't react. Reservists resigning from voluntary duty was perhaps the hardest blow, but it was a one-time blow, this card is spent. Active servicemen could also do this, but again a single blow.
So the only way to apply continuous and ramping up pressure on the government, unfortunately, is turning to violence. It seems violent clashes with the police are also occurring at a higher pace now, I'm afraid it might eventually lead to a Euromaidan-like situation.


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Coalition MKs submitted a proposal for a law that allows them to effectively ban entire parties, of their choosing, from running in elections.
The Central Elections Committee can already ban any party it wants, based on rather arbitrary criteria, but the Supreme Court of Justice can overrule them. What usually happens is the CEC issues several bans per election season, and the SCJ just overrules them except in extreme cases against individual politicians only.
With the SCJ removed from the equation, the coalition can ban everyone except themselves, just like in Belarus, and that way they won't even have to pass the even more contentious "indefinite elections postponement" bill they proposed several months ago.

The article mentions Arab parties because the CEC typically tries to ban the more extremist ones among them, but the current government seems to break some new taboo every other day.


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Israel is buckling under the weight of its manpower and financial needs. Plans are brought forward to enlist all military age ultra orthodox, some propose even enlist Arabs as well - but there is more to it than just conscription. The October 7th massacre, 14 months of failed management leading to systemic collapse, equally long nation-wide protests, global collapse of hi-tech sectors, and an unsustainable 'status quo' -- have birthed a process that may breathe life into Israel's economy, military, cultural development, and perhaps even reverse the trends that may threaten Israel's status as a regional power.

Not enough manpower in the military. Israel relies on hi-tech industry, particularly startups, which currently suffers globally from severe under-investment. Populist policies and excessive welfare programs that hurt future growth are taking an economical toll. War is immensely costly as reservists are temporarily lost manpower. Current ban on Palestinian workers created a shortage of cheap labor.
Complete equality in conscription will solve much of this. The IDF needs a few more combat divisions, and personal sanctions due to non-conscription may root out a culture of parasitic behavior.

October 7th Massacre
Day before the massacre, the IDF was already deployed widely across the J&S area with reportedly 32 battalions. The northern border with Lebanon and Syria is also taxing in terms of deployment requirements.
3 more battalions are guarding the Egyptian border, and an undisclosed number guarding the northern and southern areas of the Jordanian border.
Haredi (ultra orthodox Jews) draft could add about 60,000 men to the pool.
Currently, combat soldiers of the IDF do 17 weeks of training and 17 weeks of operational activity every year. While it is an improvement over the 13/17 since the 2nd intifada, it is still not enough. The 'operational activity' is a deployment, often 4 consecutive months along some border or in J&S. During that time, soldiers often have to operate more like policemen or guards than actual soldiers. Non-infantry units such as armor and artillery are deployed as infantry if they are in J&S (which is the most dense area in terms of deployments) which further impacts their readiness. For a tank crew to not see a tank for 4 months may have serious consequences. This nature of consecutive deployments and consecutive exercises creates steep peaks and dips in readiness. Prior to deployment to Gaza, for example, many units underwent additional training to freshen up and to update them on specific current threats, but that is a luxury that was only possible as there were layers of backup. Should the IDF need to deploy simultaneously on multiple fronts, this additional training may have to be forfeit. Additionally, rear soldiers with only very basic training (~1 month, once or twice at a range with 15 bullets each, plus range every 6 months, no combat skills) are given 2 weeks of forward base guard duty every year. These are often engineers or other valuable and specially trained personnel that are therefore less productive.
To summarize - The IDF suffers in terms of operational readiness and operational capacity because it has a shortage of manpower.

Failed Government
Systemic collapse of the economy, security, education, health, and other vital aspects of government and life, are the result of populist policies and excessive welfare projects for the ultra orthodox sector that was already regarded as parasitic before all that. This led to the current government losing significant public support, down from 64 seats in the Knesset in November 2022, to 43-45 in current polls. The remaining ~40 seats are due to a sectarian base that will not change its voting pattern no matter what. If Netanyahu wants to continue his rule, he has to either work some miracles, or have half the country somehow forget everything that happened since the beginning of his term. Every piece of policy he enacted has been taxing on him in terms of public support, and he knows he has to choose his battles carefully now.

Nationwide Protests
The record in protest numbers was set around March of 2023 IIRC, in response to rulings about the judicial overhaul. Their persistence has effectively halted the judicial overhaul with a first victory for the protest movement. But they have not died down. Those who paid the steepest price are the Haredim (ultra orthodox). Their allegiance to the coalition, under an unwritten agreement that they support all government decisions as long as the government prevents legislation that would draft Haredim and works toward granting them draft exemption -- has brought upon them significant backlash. They were in the highlight, and in their calculus they have effectively exhausted their favor with the general public and may face some sanctions down the line. They saw no merit in the judicial overhaul itself and likely considered it to be a lost cause, a hill upon which they died and which drained their strength from the real, important battle.
On October 7th the general public agreed to halt protests and focus on unity, but the coalition's strategy on maintaining its failed management and divisive tactics has broken this unwritten agreement and now there is public debate about drafting the Haredim on one hand, and setting a new, earlier date for elections on the other hand.
And when I say public debate - it's more anger toward the Haredim. Proposals also include the Arabs, but the reason why they aren't protesting like the Haredim or aren't participating in a public debate about it - is because they are less whiny. The Haredim are unable to produce any real arguments, and every line they take manages to anger the public even more.

Hi Tech Sector
Israel's economy is largely dependent on tech and services, which in turn are also tech related. Investments in hi tech plummeted long before the war, but the war itself exacerbates the situation. Many have become unemployed, down time between jobs is longer, and salaries go down as the supply increases and demand decreases. But what really exacerbates this situation is the fact that those skilled workers are predominantly those who serve in the military, especially in reserve. Companies that initially struggled with a shortage of funds now have to provide for their employees who cannot be productive as they are deployed in combat. Many who chose to put life on hold for higher education are taking a hit as they are losing semesters without compensation. The war basically impacts most Israel's primary economical driver. This leads the public to demand everyone to "share the burden". It is already bad as it is that this sector subsidizes the less productive sectors.


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Status Quo
During Israel's foundation in 1948, it created the so called 'status quo' that established that:
1. Arabs are not conscripted under the argument that they cannot be relied upon as motivated soldiers if they have to fight their brothers, nor is it moral to ask them to in the first place.
2. Israel shall have several Jewish traits such as Kosher laws and a day off on Saturday (including public transportation).
3. Haredim shall be exempt from military service due to their unique way of life.

The status quo has been challenged over the years, but point 3 was more an unwritten agreement rather than an established law. It is also important to understand that in 1948 the Haredim were an extremely small minority. Perhaps only hundreds in total. Today they are over a million. This entirely changes the viability of such an agreement.

Why Now?
The topic of Haredi draft has been in the public debate in some capacity for decades. It's what even led to the bizarre sequence of no less than 5 elections between 2018-2022, and toppled governments as early as the late 90's. But the reasons explained above, as well as the growing divisions in Israel's society and a very real sensation of threat to Israel's existence as a liberal democracy, have led to unprecedented public awareness and support for this issue.

What Now For the Ultra Orthodox?
It seems that unless something truly fantastic suddenly occurs, they have 3 options ahead of them:
1. Do not resist, and negotiate with all parties "in good faith" a compromise that will leave them with a "soft sentence".
2. Go all in and bet on a win in the next elections. If they lose, they might just get the "harsh sentence".

Arab Conscription
The elephant in the room is Arab conscription. There are 3 main factors to consider in this:
1. Arabs are not as well integrated into society as Israelis would like. Not economically, nor politically. As many are hostile to the idea of a Jewish Israel as there are those sympathetic to that idea. This could lead to internal sabotage of the IDF and a tsunami of organized crime.
2. Druze Arabs are an example of the opposite - well integrated, serve with no exemptions.
3. Conscription could help root out all the negative aspects of Jewish-Arab interactions, and vastly improve integration.

Re 1:
One reason for Arab disconnect from Israel is a more tribal culture. They live in their own towns, barely teach their children Hebrew, and are generally more traditional and religious which prevents inter-marriage with Jews. They keep their businesses within their families so their next generations also don't migrate. This leads to disconnect also in terms of rule of law, which in turn gave rise to organized crime in their society, including a recent spike in murders which troubled the nation between January and October. Organized crime regarding the IDF is already an issue. Bedouins succeed in stealing weapons from Israeli bases in the Negev, and Jewish organized crime invests in putting recruits in positions such as combat engineering to learn valuable skills for their criminal life later on. A society with a larger share of organized crime would severely increase that risk.

Yet there seems to be no significant opposition to Arab conscription. It's not even really part of any public debate. Parties left and right propose bills to draft them as well.


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The Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) conducted a poll with fascinating results. It contrasted Israeli public trust in public institutions between June 2023 and December 2023 to capture the war.
It seems Israeli Arabs have significantly increased their trust in Israeli public institutions. Perhaps most notable is the massive increase in trust in the IDF. This predates the proposals to draft Arabs into the army, although IDI say some of the questions were repeated in early 2024 as well.

Arab trust in institutions changed as such:
IDF - 21% -> 44%.
Supreme Court - 26% -> 53%.
Police - 17% -> 38%.
Media - 17.5% -> 36%.
Government - 18% -> 19%.

For Jews the stats are:
IDF - 85.5% -> 86.5%.
Supreme Court - 42% -> 42.5%.
Police - 35% -> 58.5%.
Media - 25% -> 30%.
And more importantly:
Government - 28% -> 23%.

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Update on ultra orthodox conscription:

Legal advisor to the government Gali Baharav Miara issued a recommendation to Israel's High Court of Justice - to avoid extending the government's conscription exemption rights, which the court accepted and even ordered the government to begin drafting every eligible person as of April 1st, as well as remove all funding to Yeshivas (religious schools) that are used for draft dodging.
For Israel, this is no less than a historic event!
Ultra orthodox parties have threatened to break up the government if their permanent exemption is not passed as law. I doubt they will fulfill that threat, but this is a strong sign of the current government's nearing end.
Government propaganda outlets are already working not on preventing an early election, but delaying one - indicating progress was made and an early election is almost assured. Now we must push forward and get that election as early as possible.


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Is the 33,000:number of dead folks in Gaza too small? estimate are that at leasev8100 more are head. This means discounting the 10k Israel claims wereHamas, at least 30k of innocents were killed.
This isn't the correct thread but generally the answer is no, it is too big.
Research-based counts put it at around 20k total, including the IDF's claimed 13k Hamas.
IIRC IDF does not count Hamasses killed inside Israeli territory, but Hamas's MoH does.