Israelis protest for 32nd week against judicial reforms

TEL AVIV : Israeli protesters took to the streets again on Saturday to protest the coalition government’s judicial overhaul.

Demonstrators have organized mass protests every Saturday against the far-right coalition government’s judicial overhaul and conservative policies led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

This Saturday marked the 32nd straight week of protests.

Tens of thousands attended demonstrations in Tel Aviv, West Jerusalem, Haifa, Beersheba, Herzliya and Rehovot.

As usual, the most significant demonstration took place in Tel Aviv, where protesters gathered in front of the Government Complex on Kaplan Street and made speeches criticizing the regulation.

Protest leaders accused Netanyahu of attempting to undermine the rule of law and potentially causing a constitutional crisis.

Demonstrators holding Israeli flags chanted slogans in support of democracy and used drums, whistles and air horns to create rhythm.

Judicial reform in Israel

Justice Minister Yariv Levin announced on Jan. 5 the judicial reform, which included changes such as limiting the Supreme Court’s powers and giving the government a say in judicial appointments.

Netanyahu announced in March he was postponing the reform, which had led to increasing mass protests and nationwide strikes, but he also said his government would put it back on the agenda after the approval of the 2023-2024 budget in late May.

Following a stalemate in negotiations with the opposition, the government recently restarted the reform process.

As part of the judicial reform, the government announced that a bill to abolish the Supreme Court’s oversight of the government would be brought to the Knesset, or parliament, for a second and third vote on July 24.

Thousands of Israelis, including war pilots, submarine officers and other elite units who opposed the reform, decided to resign from voluntary reserve service.

Israeli media reported that Defense Minister Yoav Gallant was working to postpone the bill to abolish the Supreme Court’s oversight of the government in response to the reactions from reserve soldiers.

Numerous prominent figures in Israeli politics, the military, security, economy and the judiciary have publicly expressed opposition to the reform plans.

The movement against Netanyahu’s government judicial reform agenda has been staging demonstrations for seven months. — AA


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