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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

A plethora of demonstrations have been occurring in Israel in opposition to the proposed judicial reform. It is evident that the populace is vociferously expressing their dissent towards the alteration of the judicial system.

In Israel, the third month, there are protests against the reform of the judicial system, which, as expected, should weaken the Supreme Court and strengthen the position of Parliament. On March 11, another rally took place in the country, which the opposition called the “biggest” in the country’s history, writing Haretz.

According to opposition estimates, on March 11, up to 500,000 people took to the streets of Israeli cities (despite the fact that in 2022 the country’s population was about 9.5 million). How informed The Jerusalem Post, in Tel Aviv, about 250,000 protesters gathered in the streets. There, protesters managed to bypass police barricades and block traffic on the city’s Ayalon Highway, but the road was quickly cleared.

Ohad Zwigenberg / AP

At the same time, a record number of 50,000 people took part in the action in Haifa, 9,000 in Ra’anan, 3,500 in Kiryat Ono, more than 3,000 in Rehovot and 1,000 in Beer Sheva (8,000 according to the police). At the same time, in previous actions, protesters between during clashes with the security forces.

What the opposition says

Israeli opposition leader and former prime minister Yair Lapid told the assembly that Israel was “going through the greatest crisis in its history”.

“We are hit by a wave of terrorism, our economy is collapsing, money is flowing out of the country. <…> But the only thing this government cares about is the crushing of Israeli democracy,” Lapid said, addressing the protesters.

Shortly before the start of the demonstrations, the organizers of the rallies again declared that they did not agree with the implementation of the reform, and also stressed that “in the coming days” the demonstrations “will would intensify” if the authorities did not announce a freeze on the bill.

The Jerusalem Post notes that former Israeli Air Force commander Amir Eshel, retired police commissioner Moshe Karadi and retired judge Hila Gerstel spoke alongside the protesters. Previously, lawyers, IT professionals and even the military had warned that if the reform was implemented, they would refuse to perform their duties.

What the government says

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in turn declaredthat opposition to the reform is only a pretext to “overthrow the government”.

“The fact that for two whole months the opposition has failed to respond to our repeated calls for negotiations indicates that the opposition is not interested in reform, but in creating anarchy and overthrowing the government. elected,” the Israeli prime minister said.

He also expressed hope that “there will be honest, sincere, patriotic people who care about the country and are ready to talk” with the authorities.

Ohad Zwigenberg / AP

What Citizens Wrong About Judicial Reform

At the end of December 2022, a government led by Benjamin Netanyahu came to power in Israel, which announced new reforms, including in the judicial system. According to the reforms, the parliamentary majority should take control of the choice of judges for the Supreme Court, which would lose the ability to invalidate laws passed by the Israeli parliament. In mid-February, the law on judicial reform passed its first reading in parliament (the Knesset) and, on March 12, lawmakers begin preparation for the second and third (final) readings.

Netanyahu argues that the reform aims to prevent judges from abusing their powers. Opponents of the reform, meanwhile, believe it will destroy the independence of the judiciary. Israeli President Yitzhak Herzog also opposes the reform. On March 9, in an address to the nation, he appointed the bill is “nightmarish” and “repressive” because it “undermines the democratic foundations” of the country, and also called on the authorities to abandon the reform.

At the same time, the duke added that the ruling coalition and the opposition should put Israel’s interests above political confrontation in order to prevent the country from “falling off the cliff”. Furthermore, he said that over the past three months, during which there have been protests, he has been working on a compromise reform option and discussing it with representatives from all ideological spectrums in the country. “Agreement has been reached on most issues,” the president noted.

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