Video of Netanyahu boasting of being able to be an aggressor because America will back Israel, he said: “American is something that you can easily maneuver, and move in the right direction. And even if they say something….So then they say something, so what? 80% of Americans support us! It’s absurd! We have such support there, and here we’re thinking what we should do “if”…”
In a surprise and potentially far-reaching victory for Benjamin Netanyahu, the Knesset on Monday evening gave the prime minister the authority to declare war or order a major military operation by consulting only the defense minister, and not via a full cabinet vote as the law had previously required.
Sixty-two Knesset members voted the dramatic proposal into law, beating out the 41 opposition MKs who opposed it claiming that the language of the law effectively gives free reign to the prime minister by removing all oversight.
According to the new law, in “extreme circumstances,” military operations can be authorized by the prime minister and defense minister alone and will not need a vote by cabinet ministers.
The law does not specify exactly what those circumstances may be, or who will determine them, saying only that the case will apply, “if the issue is necessary due to urgency.”
The proposal — advanced by Netanyahu since last year — had been rejected earlier in the day by members of two key Knesset committees: Law and Justice, and Foreign Affairs and Defense. It was resubmitted, however, by Likud member and Foreign Affairs and Defense committee chairman Avi Dichter during the second and third readings of a broader amendment and was voted into law as part of that wider legislation.
That wider amendment allows the government to delegate the authority for going to war under normal circumstances, or mobilizing for a major military operation, to a forum made up of “at least half” of all cabinet ministers.
Some eight years ago, Netanyahu and then-defense minister Ehud Barak instructed the chief of staff and head of the Mossad intelligence service to put the army into a state of readiness, only to be told by the latter two that the relevant activity was illegal because it had not been properly approved and could lead to war.