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Israeli minister demands AG open probe into Barak’s ‘coup d’etat’

We have seen the attempt to implement it in recent days, said Transport Minister Miri Regev.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak at a protest in Tel Aviv against the government's planned judicial reforms, Feb. 25, 2023. Photo by Avshalom Sassoni‎‏/Flash90.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak at a protest in Tel Aviv against the government's planned judicial reforms, Feb. 25, 2023. Photo by Avshalom Sassoni‎‏/Flash90.

Israeli Transport Minister Miri Regev sent a letter to Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara calling for an investigation to be opened against former Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Forum 555 for allegedly inciting a coup d’état.

Regev cited a video clip circulating on social media that “shows without any shadow of a doubt that beginning in March 2020, former officials began concocting a plan for a coup d’état and civil disobedience, with detailed and careful planning.”

“We have been seeing the attempt to implement it in recent days,” she added.

The plan included “falsely presenting a danger to democracy with funding and investments totaling millions of shekels, leading to the point of no return—a civil war—as [Barak] begs them [opponents of judicial reform] to create clashes with the police, saying, ‘The more clashes there are with the police, the more it will grow stronger,'” said Regev.

Public Diplomacy Minister Galit Distel Atbaryan on Friday exposed in a Twitter post what she claimed was Barak‘s plan to bring down the government, describing an interview with Barak from 2020 to Forum 555, a group of retired Israel Air Force pilots and navigators.

The plan, she said, included deliberately inflaming the civilian population, creating a false representation of a danger to democracy, and bankrolling protests, including purchasing flags.

Asked during the 2020 interview about a possible reprise of the “success of 1999,” when he was elected prime minister, Barak said, “A friend of mine, a historian, once told me, ‘Ehud, they will call you when bodies are floating in the Yarkon River.’ I wish to stress: it is not the bodies of Palestinians from the territories illegally residing [in Israel] that will be floating, and not those of Israeli Arabs. The floating bodies will be of Jews that were killed by Jews.”

He went on to say that should Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu somehow disappear from the scene, and should Israel’s situation worsen on various fronts, “I am more suitable and prepared than any other person in the country to take the wheel.”

In an address to London-based Chatham House think tank in March, Barak went into further detail regarding how protests could bring down a government.

The politician said he was sure his side would win “because I know our people, and we have even empirical evidence for this.”

In a speech in Haifa in June, Barak, a leading voice against the Netanyahu government’s judicial reform program, urged demonstrators to revolt.

“The script for civil disobedience was written by Mahatma Gandhi, who drove the British Empire from India, by Martin Luther King, who led the struggle for civil rights for blacks, by the young people of the United States, who pulled it out of Vietnam, and by those who removed [Slobodan] Milošević from his dictator’s chair in Serbia,” Barak told the protesters.

“I call upon the citizens of Israel to prepare for the call to act, and when the call comes, to answer it,” he said.

Barak in a Twitter post published on Friday claimed that the video interview being shared was incomplete, and said it hadn’t revealed any new information.

Regev in her letter said, “We cannot and we will not ignore these repulsive words, especially since they were said by someone who served in such important positions in the State of Israel, and since there is a tangible concern that his plan will indeed be implemented and endanger the public’s welfare and safety.”

She noted that a former pilot and a founder of Forum 555 told Channel 14 this week that “indeed, the coup d’état has been planned for a number of years, together with Ehud Barak, and it is not connected to any political and/or legislative event.”

Wrote Regev, “We cannot ignore these things at a time when we see the plan concocted years ago becoming reality and chaos reigning in the streets. Therefore, I demand that a criminal investigation against Ehud Barak and members of the 555 organization be immediately opened, and that they be brought to justice for the forbidden acts that they have committed.”

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