Pollak: Judicial Reform Win Shows Trump and Netanyahu Can Bury Hatchet, Learn from Each Other

 Pollak: Judicial Reform Win Shows Trump and Netanyahu Can Bury Hatchet, Learn from Each Other

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Although Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former U.S. President Donald Trump haven’t communicated in years, Netanyahu’s recent victory on judicial reform reflects a shared political strategy and might offer Trump a blueprint for his potential political revival.

The reform, albeit mild, restricts the overarching authority of Israel’s judiciary from vetoing government policies based on their subjective understanding of “reasonability.” While this practice, entrenched by the liberal judiciary over the decades, saw scarce support, the left-wing faction attempted to halt the country in fear of Netanyahu introducing more drastic reforms.

Mimicking Trump’s strategy of initially proposing radical changes, Netanyahu prompted a shift in Israeli public opinion towards embracing reform by putting forth the most extreme amendments. Consequently, even critics conceded that the existing judiciary’s powers needed tempering and expressed willingness to consider changes.

Despite the opposition’s attempt to frame their resistance as a defense of “democracy,” the reality is that Netanyahu’s reforms enhance democratic representation. Some left-wing factions even resorted to suggesting a military coup and urging reservists to abstain from their duties. This move backfired, consolidating support not only for the reform but also against the desertion and blatant politicization of Israel’s military.

Netanyahu’s political journey may provide insight into Trump’s potential political comeback. Like Trump, Netanyahu grappled with unfounded criminal charges, fought them in court, and revealed the power abuses by legal authorities intent on pushing him out of politics. After being removed from power in 2021, he returned as head of a unified conservative coalition and won last year’s election.

Netanyahu’s survival amidst a ‘color revolution,’ international pressure, and a health crisis offers a valuable lesson: winning an election is not the end. The left often refuses to acknowledge the legitimacy of an election result it doesn’t favor and tries to block any populist government from exercising its mandate. Netanyahu’s success in countering these challenges and maintaining his coalition offers a strategic approach that Trump might find useful.

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