Tens of thousands of Israelis demonstrated on Saturday in Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities, for the 27th consecutive week, against the controversial reform plan for the judicial system of the government of Benjamin Netanyahu, on the eve of the introduction to the Knesset on Monday of an important provision.
The mobilization against the judicial reform project is not weakening in Israel. Several tens of thousands of Israelis gathered at the end of the day on Saturday July 8 for the 27th consecutive week in the center of Tel Aviv and in other Israeli cities to demonstrate against a controversial judicial reform defended by the government.
Protesters were more numerous than in recent weeks, according to organizers who put the figure at 180 000 demonstrators in Tel Aviv.
The Israeli media also gave rising figures (around 150 000 demonstrators), on the eve of the introduction Monday in the Knesset of an important provision of the reform.
The police do not provide estimates of the number of demonstrators, of whom around 100 were dispersed on Saturday evening with water cannons after blocking the Tel Aviv urban highway, according to an AFP journalist.
After unsuccessful attempts at negotiations with the opposition following the announcement at the end of March of a “pause” in attempts to legislate on reform, the government is relaunching the offensive in Parliament on Monday, with the examination in first reading of a bill aimed at canceling the possibility for the judiciary to rule on the “reasonableness” of government decisions.
This provision affects in particular the appointment of ministers. In January, it forced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to dismiss government number two Arie Dery, convicted of tax evasion, following the intervention of the Supreme Court.
Mobilization every Saturday evening
“We must act on what the Netanyahu government is doing to our country and to the Israeli dream. If the Netanyahu government does not stop, he will learn in the coming days what will happen when we get angry,” launched the historian and essayist, Yuval Noah Harari, at the opening of the rally in Tel Aviv.
A day of national mobilization was announced for Tuesday by the organizers.
For Amit Lev, 40, an executive in the high-tech sector, “if we don’t stop what is happening now, there will be no going back.”
The bill which will be introduced on Monday “aims to prevent the judiciary from criticizing government decisions that do not fall under any other law”, he worries.
“If this law passes we will not be able to live as we wish,” said Nira, a 59-year-old physiotherapist, saying she was worried about the future.
Formed at the end of December with the support of far-right parties and ultra-Orthodox Jewish formations, the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to pass a justice reform aimed at increasing the power of elected officials over that of magistrates.
The government believes the reform is necessary to ensure a better balance of power, but its critics see it as a threat to Israeli democracy and its institutional safeguards.
Demonstrations against the judicial reform project have followed one another without interruption every Saturday evening since January in what is considered one of the largest protest movements in the history of Israel.
Source: France 24