Prime Minister Netanyahu on a poster in Tel Aviv Image: AFP
A few days after a core element of the controversial judicial reform was passed, there were renewed mass protests in Israel against the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Thousands of people took to the streets in Tel Aviv alone.
A few days after a core element of the controversial judicial reform was passed, there were renewed mass protests in Israel against the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in Tel Aviv alone on Saturday night, waving Israeli flags. The Israeli police does not provide official information on the number of participants in protests. According to Israeli television, more than 170,000 people took part in the rally in Tel Aviv.
On Monday, the Israeli parliament passed the so-called adequacy clause with the votes of all 64 members of the right-wing religious government majority. From now on, it deprives the Supreme Court of the possibility to classify government decisions as “inappropriate” and to overrule them.
Opponents of the reform accompanied the parliamentary vote with massive protests. Dozens of people were arrested and the police in Tel Aviv used water cannons. After further protests on Thursday, opponents of the judicial reform had called for new nationwide protests for Saturday – from the northern city of Haifa to Eilat on the Red Sea.
“We refuse to serve a dictatorship,” read a poster in Tel Aviv. “We don’t accept any of that,” said 27-year-old Itay Amram, referring to judicial reform. Protester Lotem Pinchover, who attended the Jerusalem rally wrapped in an Israeli flag, said she felt “deadly happy and helpless” after Monday’s parliamentary vote. “I am very scared of what is happening in Israel now and I am very worried about my daughter’s future,” added the 40-year-old.
The adequacy clause is one of the most controversial parts of judicial reform. This aims to reduce the powers of the judiciary and the Supreme Court and to strengthen the position of Parliament and the Prime Minister. Critics fear for democracy in Israel as a result of the weakening of the judiciary. Proponents, on the other hand, argue that the balance of powers should be restored.
The judicial reform divides the Israeli population. People from all walks of life have been protesting against the project for more than half a year.