Usually when we think of a coup, we think of that kind. But there is another type that is very common in history: a “coup from above.” That’s more difficult to spot.
Yuval Noah Harari in Haaretz: A “coup from above” occurs when a government that came to power in a perfectly legal way, violates the restrictions the law imposes on it, and tries to gain unlimited power. It’s a very old trick: First use the law to gain power, then use power to distort the law.
It can be very confusing when a “coup from above” takes place. On the face of it, everything looks normal. There are no tanks in the streets, and no general with a uniform sagging with medals interrupts the television broadcasts. The coup occurs behind closed doors, with laws being passed and decrees being signed that remove all restraints on the government, and dismantle all checks and balances. Of course, the government does not declare that it is carrying out a coup. It claims only that it is passing some much-needed reforms, “for the good of the people.”
How can we in Israel today determine whether we are facing a genuine reform or a coup? The simplest test is to ask: Are there still limits on the power of the government? More here.