Illustrative photo – Tens of thousands of people protested on January 28, 2023 in Tel Aviv against plans by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government to weaken the country's judicial system.
Tel Aviv – Tens of thousands of people in Israel protested for the sixth Saturday in a row against the planned reform of the judiciary, which is being promoted by the right-wing government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The most numerous demonstrations were again in Tel Aviv, where, according to the organizers, approximately 145,000 people gathered. In other cities, around 83,000 people expressed their disapproval, according to The Times of Israel. Police estimates were not immediately available, but in previous weeks they have always been lower than organizers' numbers.
In Tel Aviv, people observed a minute of silence for the victims of Friday's terrorist attack in East Jerusalem, in which three people died. Tzipi Livni, the former Minister of Justice of Netanyahu's government, addressed the crowd.
“We did not take to the streets because of the election results. We are here because of what you have been doing since your election,” Livni said to the prime minister. She criticized some new laws and the persecution of civil servants, calling Netanyahu's actions in recent weeks fascism, writes The Times of Israel.
Taking part in protests in Tel Aviv, former Israeli army chief of staff Dan Halutz said Israelis would not want to serve in the army if the government continued with its plans for the judiciary. “Soldiers and officers who recognize that a dictatorship reigns here will not want to become the dictator's mercenaries,” said Haluc. Military service is compulsory for most Israelis, both men and women.
This week, demonstrations were also held for the first time in Efrat, an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank, AFP reported.< /p>
The draft reform, which is one of the new government's priorities, was presented by the Minister of Justice, Jariv Levin. According to him, the 120-member parliament, or Knesset, would now have the power to override the Supreme Court's decision with a majority of 61 votes. Levin also suggests that politicians play a greater role in the appointment of judges.
Critics point out that changes in the functioning of the supreme court would also be beneficial for the prime minister himself, who is facing accusations of corruption. The charges relate to three separate cases involving, among other things, influencing media owners and accepting generous donations in exchange for political favors. Netanyahu denies guilt, but if convicted, he faces a long-term prison term.