Those who care about Israel are hearing a great deal about the new most extreme nationalistic and ultra-Orthodox right-wing government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel’s 75-year history, its efforts to gut the powers of the Supreme Court, and to promote its agenda in the Occupied territories to claim land de facto (leading to de jure) annexation in Area C (at least) while denying Palestinians civil and human rights.

Hundreds of thousands of Israelis have been demonstrating in the streets (many for the first time) on successive Saturday nights in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Haifa, and in Diaspora communities there have been several letters addressed to Netanyahu and to the Biden Administration calling upon them to stop this march towards anti-democratic authoritarianism.

The issues involved are complicated, as are the politics. Micah Goodman, a leading Israeli public intellectual and a senior fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, this past week joined with host Amanda Borschel-Dan on the inaugural episode of the Times of Israel’s new podcast called What Matters Now to talk about the Israeli government’s challenges and why Israelis are pouring out into the streets in protest.

The Podcast is 40 minutes long, but well worth listening as Micah Goodman unpacks the issues and concludes with a degree of optimism that something new and better might emerge from the current crisis. He argues for a national commission led by the President of Israel Isaac Herzog to cope with the reality that Israel has no Constitution (only a series of Basic Laws) and that this crisis affords Israelis the chance to address a serious weakness in its democracy that need not continue.