Live updates: Israel protests erupt in Tel Aviv as Netanyahu’s crisis deepens
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is “trying to make Israel a dictatorship,” according to the country’s former leader Ehud Barak, in a blistering attack against the man he once served in Cabinet.
“It’s the most severe crisis we have had in Israel in the last 75 years,” Barak, who was Israeli prime minister between 1999 and 2001, said at an event hosted by London think tank Chatham House. “It’s a threat to our democracy and our way of life.”
Barak replaced Netanyahu as Israel’s leader and later served as his defense minister for four years. But he attacked his former boss’s new, right-wing government, saying it “acts blatantly illegitimately in what it is doing.”
“We are defending democracy against those who are using the very tools that democracy gives and the very freedom that it bestows upon its citizens in order to destroy it from within,” Barak said.
“We call it regime change from top down. They are trying to make Israel a dictatorship. We are not going to accept it. This is not going to fit into our basic values and collective psyche.”
His intervention came as protests and strikes swept the country, amid an outpouring of anger over Netanyahu’s efforts to weaken the judiciary.