Jean Pierre Braun

An analytical look at the current protest

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Enough is Enough!!

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us

Charles Dickens in “A Tale Of Two Cities” (1859).


 Some say the ongoing wave of protest is about the proposed Judicial Reform because they posit it will undoubtedly turn the country into a dictatorship.

More and more understand that in fact this is just a pretense and the protest is really an attempt to overturn the democratically elected Netanyahu government.

Some say they protest to protect democracy and prevent the rise of a dictatorship.

More and more see the protesters’ actions as a denial of democracy and a thinly veiled attempt at a Coup d’état.

Some say these anti-government actions started on January 7, 2023 when the people of Israel under the banner of our revered flag took to the street to prevent the judiciary reform from being enacted.

More and more know now that the present anti-government actions actually started in July 2020, when Ehud Barack, having lost so badly in the previous legislative elections that he was not eligible to become a MK again, was speaking to a group of air force reserve officers. He outlined a plan of action so outrageous and violent that I do not want to repeat a word of it, but with only one goal in mind: to oust Netanyahu by all possible means. The video of Barack’s speech is widely available on the internet.

Some say their protest movement is genuine, spontaneous, born from the belly of the common Israeli.

More and more know now that this protest movement has long been in the making, was carefully planned and richly financed (from Ehud Barack’s fortune, New Israel Fund, and many other sources, international and domestic)

Some say the present anti-government movement is an unprecedented, historical uprising to protect Israel’s fundamental values.

However, students of History know that this is not a first, and that, alas, the short history of the Jewish people as it returned to its promised land is rife with riots, violence, demonstrations and other “Machloket”, all pinning Jews against Jews.

Should we make a (partial) list?

  • In 1947, Ben Gurion ordered the sinking of the Altalena, a ship bringing much needed arms to a besieged Israel. The ship had been chartered by the Irgun, the commander of the troupe that sank it was none other than Yitzhak Rabin. Jews killing Jews.
  • In 1951, in the middle of the Ma’abarot crisis, Ben Gurion resigned from his prime minister position following a heated conflict between religious and non-religious factions.
  • In 1952, violent anti-government riots took place in all of Israel, rocks were thrown at the Knesset over the German Reparation Program. Menahem Begin, then head of Herut led the movement.
  • In 1959, the Wadi Salib riots started in Haifa opposed the disenfranchised Sephardim to the establishment because of ongoing widespread discrimination. That lead to further riots throughout the 60’s, the creation of the Black Panther movement, and the foundation of the SHAS party.
  • On September 2nd, 1983, Emil Grunzweig Z”L, a Peace Now activist, was killed during a protest in Jerusalem by a hand grenade thrown by a right-wing activist. Jew killing Jew.
  • On November 4th, 1995, Itzhak Rabin Z”L was assassinated. Jew killing Jew.
  • In 2005, the Gush Katif forced evacuation was the reason for major protests throughout the nation who witnessed a violent handling of this situation by the Israeli Army. Jews committing violence against Jews.
  • In November 2006, hundreds of thousands of Israelis took to the street to demand Prime Minister Olmert’s ousting following the second Lebanon war.
  • A precursor to the current wave of military refusal to serve, in July of 1982, Commander Eli Geva, then in charge of an armored brigade in the Lebanon war, resigned from his command on conscientious ground. He was Tzahal’s first conscientious objector and was dealt with harshly.

As said above, this is only a partial list, many more such regrettable episodes occurred in the past 100 years or so.

Affectio Societatis

Whatever the organization, it can only exist if its members share a mutual intention to form and sustain said organization. This mutual intention or willingness is called “Affectio Societatis”. It is a French law concept that has been extended to apply to corporations, social entities, and political organizations. Nations as well.

Although this may appear as a simplistic analysis, one may infer that the fall of empires throughout History (Egypt, Greece, Rome, etc..) was caused by the loss of Affectio Societatis, that is the loss of interest in the nation, history, and culture they built together.

Many factors can lead to this decline, the most obvious being: (1) The erosion of social cohesion, especially when many different cultures, customs and traditions need to merge into the nation. (2) Economic disparities, especially when new and too pronounced. (3) The loss or even perceived loss of Military loyalty, especially in a situation when the nation faces outside threats.


Not specific to Israel, a new threat has emerged. It is the battle between “Identity” and “globalization.”

The attachment to one’s Identity entails defending one’s tradition, history, language, values, culture, and social fabric with the goal to keep Affectio Societatis alive.

Globalization on the other hand, based on the world being increasingly interconnected and interdependent, is the push to adopt the dominant culture of the time to the detriment of individual cultures and identities. This is sometimes referred to as “Woke” or “Cancel Culture”.

A perfect example of Globalization at work can be seen in the European Union where borders between individual nations are eliminated, European Laws enforced by unelected European Civil Servants supersede national laws, and the European Court of Justice has become the ultimate judiciary arbiter. European nations willing to go against this new Status Quo include Italy, Greece, Hungary, Poland, and several others, eager to defend their borders and their identities.


Religion is a part of a nation’s identity that is generally being dealt with very carefully, mostly due to the rise of Islam in the occidental world. No such concern exists in Israel, and religion plays a key role in defining the essence of Israel as a nation. Judaism is the religion of the land, there is no threat of it being replaced by any other religion. But the role that Judaism plays in Israel’s national life, and especially the role played by Halacha, the code of religious laws defined in the Torah and the Talmud and interpreted by rabbinic authorities, has been at the center of discussions since the founding of the state of Israel. In July 1958, Ben Gurion wrote: “The Declaration of Independence never resolved that the Jewish state should be a halachic state ruled by rabbis… Just the contrary, we declared that it would not be a theocratic state and that men and women would have equal rights, which contradicts the Halacha…”. However, for the sake of maintaining a coalition with the religious parties, Ben Gurion’s actions often contradicted his writing.

The Elite

Day after day, the media reports that the “Elite” of this country are threatening to go on strike, to withhold their services, to move their considerable financial assets and to delocalize their companies, thereby screeching the country to a potentially devastating halt and exposing its weakened flanks to the enemies. Who are the precious people parts of this special group dubbed “The Elite”, who are these high-level activists capable at will of paralyzing the country, destroying the economy, weakening Tzahal and causing widespread misery among the rest of us? In no particular order, they are pilots and other high-ranking officers, doctors, surgeons, university professors, lawyers, engineers and entrepreneurs, bank and venture capital executives, even nuclear scientists.

This is no coincidence of course. Look at my points 2 and 3 on the “Affectio Societatis” paragraph above, look at the entire section on Globalization. These people fit the bill. They are uniquely positioned to access the benefits of globalization, they will profit first from open markets, free movement of capital, and global sourcing. To make that happen, they are the first willing to embrace international trends and global values, and to open national borders even at the risk of losing national identities.

To quote Ehud Barack: “Land does not matter, people matter”.  This is all first-degree language: let us be ready to give up any part of the land to secure our positions and maximize our profits. People matters? Yes and no: mostly the Elite matters. The Elite has little mindshare left for the common folks.

Final consideration

In 2008, commenting on events that took place in 1996, former minister and MK Joseph “Tommy” Lapid (Yes, Yair Lapid’s own father) wrote the following:

“Bibi Netanyahu was not elected prime minister in 1996 because Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated, because Shimon Peres is a loser, or because Bibi Netanyahu is a media wizard. Bibi Netanyahu was elected because the majority of the Jewish public could not accept a deal in which we give up territories while the Palestinians blow up our busses. Such a formula was too lethal and did not leave much room for pure logical considerations.

Bibi Netanyahu’s primal sin was that he dared get elected despite the holy trinity: the media, academia, and the white (as in non-Sephardi and non-Ultra-Orthodox) establishment. The liberal left which earnestly champions free, universal, and democratic elections finds it difficult to accept the fact that the majority might vote “wrongly”. Hence the persistent and arrogant attempts to delegitimize Bibi Netanyahu as a prime minister. It was no accident that MK Ra’anan Cohen, labor faction whip, rushed to the Supreme Court to file a petition against the election results. Judging from the sensation in the clogged arteries of the left, Bibi’s election was in contradiction with the law – if not the laws of the land, then the laws of nature”.

Left and Right are evolving concepts that have little to do with traditional interpretations: Left meant defense of the working class, Right meant advocate of capitalism. This is not the case anymore. Still not to confuse the debate let us stick with these denominations. The “Left,” not only in Israel, but in many occidental countries has appropriated to itself the exclusive right to the good word, to the just message and to the political truth. How dare anyone contest this position that has been repeated so many times, it has become the truth (in the eyes of the beholders of course). This is Tommy Lapid’s surprising, but oh so just, message. It still rings true today.

Enough is Enough

Israel is a dream come true. It is a safe haven for Jews coming from all corners of the world. It is the place where survivors gathered after the most horrible of tragedy. It is the embodiment of a 3000 years dream. It is the “first manifestation of the approach of our redemption”.

Israel is also the place where Jews are contributing, more than any other people or civilization, to the health, progress, technological development, and overall happiness of all citizens of the world. Israel went in record time from drought and malaria to the garden of Eden it was always meant to be. Israel is where the desert blooms.

Israel is the only occidental country where the population as a whole gets younger, where confidence in their future on this blessed land compels young couples to have more children here than anywhere else.

These are the best of times

However, as I tried to explain in this essay, Israel is at risk today. One cannot pinpoint a single cause, but a convergence of negative interests is bringing enormous crowds to the streets under fake pretenses, using distorted messages and causing great harm to our country cohesion and to our standing in the world.

Indeed, the coalition in place bears some responsibility in this mess, by not explaining clearly enough what it is trying to accomplish, by passing some untimely legislation, and by tolerating unnecessary provocations from some of its prominent members.

The coalition needs to explain to the people of Israel what is really going on, what lies, fake news and distorted messages are being propagated, who is financing this disingenuous protest movement and what are their goals. There should not be any doubts in anyone’s mind about the real nature of the protests. All forms of incitement should be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.

There is no room in Israel for desertion, even threat of desertion, Tzahal has a sacred duty. It must stay above all political considerations.

There is no room in Israel for anti-religious measures, actions, or feelings. Religion is what has kept the Jewish people alive throughout History while nations and empires crumbled. Religion is the only reason why we have a legitimate right to live on this sacred land.

There is no room in Israel for Cancel Culture, Woke or unbridled Globalization. The Jewish ancestral culture should be respected, nurtured and developed for the next 3000 years; it is our responsibility.

These may have been the worst of times.

But with the help of G.d, these will be the best of times again. The recipe is simple: stand true to our democratically chosen values and support our democratically elected government. Correct the errors of the recent past. Talk to one another to adopt whatever set of laws needs to be adopted on a consensual basis as much as possible, while keeping in mind the coalition’s end goals: to balance the branches of power in the fairest way possible, to restore trust and confidence in all branches of the government. Israel is and will remain a democracy, perhaps the only democracy in an ocean of dictatorships. And with the help of G.d, the Jewish people will continue to grow, prosper, and flourish in this incredible land of ours.

About the Author
Jean Pierre Braun is a retired Silicon Valley CEO now living in Jerusalem. Born in Paris, Jean Pierre immigrated to the USA after completing its Electrical Engineering degree in France. Besides being a serial entrepreneur, Jean Pierre was also the founder of a unique, very successful Silicon Valley Synagogue, and upon his return to France became Vice President of a local CRIF branch, and the President of the Rachi community in Grenoble. A father of 3 and grandfather of 10 ב'ה, Jean Pierre and his wife Annie made Aliyah in 2016.
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