Nationwide protests in Israel against judicial overhaul

Jerusalem: Tens of thousands of Israeli protesters staged rallies across the country, in the largest weekday demonstration in months. against the government’s plan to overhaul the judiciary. Scores of Israelis took to streets, highways and junctions in major cities to hold protests in what they called a day of “disruption”,reports Xinhua news agency

They were protesting against a key bill in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to overhaul the legal system.

The bill, which passed the first out of three rounds of voting in the parliament this week, aims to prevent the Supreme Court from overturning government decisions on the grounds of “reasonability”.

In January, the Supreme Court used this standard to cancel the appointment of Aryeh Deri, the leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party and a key member in Netanyahu’s coalition, as a Minister because of his conviction for tax fraud in 2022.

The bill was widely criticized by legal experts. The protests took place in Tel Aviv, Haifa, Herzliya, Beersheba, Eilat, and other cities.

In the afternoon, about 20,000 demonstrators, as estimated by the organizers, gathered at the main entrance of Ben Gurion Airport, Israel’s main international airport, waving the blue-and-white national flags.

The police deployed around 1,000 officers, who in some cases clashed with the demonstrators. The protests continued into the night, with tens of thousands rallying in Tel Aviv and on major roads across the country.

According to Channel 13 TV reports, at least 19 demonstrators were injured and required hospital care. By the evening, the police said in a statement that at least 76 protesters had been arrested.

Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving leader, maintains that reform is needed in order to curb what he calls the “overly activist” Supreme Court. He returned to office last December, leading a rightist government coalition consisting of ultranationalist and ultra-religious parties.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

Share this post