Tens of thousands of Israelis demonstrate against a judiciary overhaul
Tens of thousands of Israelis demonstrated across the country on Saturday for the tenth consecutive week in protests against the government’s plans for judicial reforms, which critics see as a threat to democracy.
The demonstrations come as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right government prepares to proceed with its legislative agenda next week and shunned calls for a pause to allow negotiations on the split plan.
According to Israeli media estimates, the largest demonstration in the coastal city of Tel Aviv attracted around 100,000 demonstrators.
Many of them waved blue and white Israeli flags.
“I’m demonstrating because the actions the new government intends to take pose a real and imminent threat to Israeli democracy,” one protester, tech entrepreneur Ran Shahor, told AFP.
Demonstrations also took place in other cities in the country with more than nine million inhabitants.
About 50,000 Israelis protested in the northern city of Haifa and 10,000 in Beersheba – the largest so far in both, according to Israeli media.
The rallies were dispersed without major incident, although police arrested three protesters who were blocking traffic on Tel Aviv’s ring road.
The head of the parliament’s legal committee, Simcha Rotman, has scheduled daily hearings on parts of the government reforms from Sunday to Wednesday before the votes.
Justice Minister Yariv Levin said the coalition plans to pass key elements of the reforms before parliament goes into recess on April 2.
Judicial reform is a cornerstone of the Netanyahu government, an alliance of ultra-Orthodox Jewish and far-right parties, which took office at the end of December.
The legislation would give the government more weight on the committee that selects judges and deny the Supreme Court the right to reject changes to the so-called Basic Laws, Israel’s quasi-constitution.
These provisions have already been approved by the legislature at first reading.
Israeli President Issac Herzog – who in his largely ceremonial role has attempted to broker the dialogue – urged the coalition on Thursday to halt the legislation, calling it “a threat to the very foundations of democracy”.
Another element of the reforms would give the 120-seat parliament the power to overturn Supreme Court decisions with a simple majority of 61 votes.
https://news.yahoo.com/tens-thousands-israelis-rally-against-222322557.html Tens of thousands of Israelis demonstrate against a judiciary overhaul