Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing growing accusations that he is exploiting the crisis to entrench himself in power and undermining the country’s democratic foundations.
Amid a wave of sweeping restrictions that have put Israel in near shutdown mode, Netanyahu has managed to postpone his own pending criminal trial, authorize unprecedented electronic surveillance of Israeli citizens and block parliament from pressing ahead with legislation aimed at pushing him from office.
The moves, on the heels of the country’s third inconclusive election in less than a year and under the shadow of Netanyahu’s corruption indictment, sparked leading opposition figure Yair Lapid to tell Israeli citizens that they “no longer live in a democracy.”
“There is no judicial branch in Israel. There is no legislative branch in Israel. There is only an un-elected government that is headed by a person who lost the election. You can call that by a lot of names, it isn’t a democracy,” he said in a recorded video.
The new Coronavirus has spread to more than 100 countries, infected more than 217,000 people worldwide and killed more than 8,700.
Israeli health officials have diagnosed over 400 Coronavirus cases, roughly a quarter of them detected in the last 24 hours.