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Ehud Barak compares judicial-reform compromise to appeasement of Nazis

The former Israeli prime minister posted an image of President Isaac Herzog’s head superimposed on the body of former British leader Neville Chamberlain, who signed the Munich Agreement with Adolf Hitler.

Former prime minister Ehud Barak speaks at the Haaretz Democracy Conference in Jaffa, Nov. 9, 2021. Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90.
Former prime minister Ehud Barak speaks at the Haaretz Democracy Conference in Jaffa, Nov. 9, 2021. Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak on Friday likened efforts by President Isaac Herzog to mediate between the coalition and opposition over the government’s proposed judicial reform to the West’s appeasement of Nazi Germany.

Barak shared on social media an image of Herzog’s head superimposed on the body of former British premier Neville Chamberlain, best remembered for forging the Munich Agreement that allowed Adolf Hitler to annex parts of then-Czechoslovakia in exchange for a “peace in our time” that never materialized but instead fueled the Nazi death machine.

“The protests will not stop,” Barak wrote in the post, that has since been deleted.

Barak is a fierce critic of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and has played a leading role in the weekly protests over the government’s effort to reform the judiciary.

Herzog said last month that “profound” disagreement over the plan was tearing the country apart, and vowed to work towards averting a constitutional crisis.

“I respect everyone who has been arguing and getting involved, protesting and demonstrating, and I appreciate the public engagement in this important debate. I respect the criticism towards me, but I am now focused on two critical roles that I believe I bear as president at this hour: averting a historic constitutional crisis and stopping the continued rift within our nation,” said the president.

Herzog added that he has been working “full time” to create “wide-reaching, attentive and respectful discussion and dialogue” between the relevant parties.

“I hope [this] will yield results. I humbly admit that I am not certain of this endeavor’s success,” he said. “There is still a long way to go and significant gaps remain.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday night harshly criticized what he said was a “growing wave” of threats directed at himself and other officials, after a leader of the anti-government protests appeared to call for his assassination.

“It seemed that all boundaries had been crossed by threats against elected officials and myself, but this is not the case, because we have now heard and seen an explicit threat to murder the prime minister of Israel,” said Netanyahu in a statement.

Netanyahu’s remarks came after former Israeli Air Force pilot Ze’ev Raz wrote on Facebook on Friday that, “If a prime minister rises and assumes dictatorial powers, he is a dead man, it’s that simple…. There’s an obligation to kill them.”

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