Arabs, peace activists and Israel’s left wing have long challenged as undemocratic the right-wing government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

But now that criticism is being levelled by former security officials and members of the right-wing establishment itself, including veterans of Netanyahu’s own political party and his Justice Department.

They say that the government’s efforts to control the news media, curtail the authority of the Supreme Court and undermine once-hallowed institutions like the military threaten the future of Israeli democracy. Their warnings have thrown Israel into an impassioned debate over what kind of country it is becoming, and if its democracy – now in its 70th year – can survive.

A former chief of Shin Bet, the Israeli domestic security service, wrote in a newspaper column Monday that if “the ethical and moral rot that leads us” continues, “this incredible Zionist enterprise will expire.”

Read the full article by Isabel Kershner at the Australian Financial Review (from the New York Times).

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