Residents of Israel protest in this February 25, 2023 photo against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government and its proposed judicial reform, which many see as a threat to democracy.
Tel Aviv – Over 100,000 people are again demonstrating in Tel Aviv against the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and its proposal for judicial reform, which many consider a threat to democracy. Several tens of thousands of people are also protesting in other Israeli cities, local media reports. According to them, it will probably be the largest participation in the demonstrations, which have been held for the eighth Saturday. They started in Tel Aviv and gradually spread to other cities.
The largest demonstration is again taking place in Tel Aviv, where, according to Channel 12's estimate, 100,000 people took to the streets in the evening, while the daily Haaretz estimates that 160,000 participated. 30,000 people are taking part in the demonstration in Haifa and thousands are demonstrating in other cities, including Jerusalem.
Protesters again wave Israeli flags and carry various banners. In Tel Aviv, a group of people unfurled a giant banner with pictures of Netanyahu, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan or Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, which are supposed to symbolize authoritarian rule. In connection with judicial reform, many Israelis talk about the end of democracy and the beginning of dictatorship.
For example, former Israeli Prime Minister and ex-Minister of Defense Ehud Barak said today in Tel Aviv that the country is experiencing the worst crisis since the establishment of the State of Israel. “We are here to defend the declaration of independence against the attempt to turn Israel into a dictatorship,” Barak said, according to the Haaretz daily. Former Mossad intelligence chief Danny Jatom also told Channel 13 today that judicial reform will turn Israel into a dictatorship.
For weeks, opposition politicians and experts from various fields, including President Yitzchak Herzog, are trying to get the government to wait before approving the reform and seek a compromise with the opposition. Despite widespread criticism and mass demonstrations, on Monday the parliament, in which the ruling coalition has a majority, approved in the first reading the first part of the reform concerning the appointment of judges of the Supreme Court. On Monday, for the second week in a row, tens of thousands of people gathered in Jerusalem to protest as the parliament debated the reform.