Thousands of people in Israel have again protested against the controversial judicial reform of the right-wing religious government. In the center of Tel Aviv, they took to the streets for the eleventh Saturday in a row – there were also protests in other cities.
For the eleventh weekend in a row, thousands of people demonstrated in Israel against the planned judicial reforms. They marched through the streets of Tel Aviv with Israeli flags and protest signs. Waving the Israeli flag and rainbow flags, they blocked traffic and shouted slogans like “Save Democracy!”.
According to Israeli media, people took to the streets in more than 100 cities – including Haifa and Jerusalem.
They all accuse the government of conservatives, religious fundamentalists and right-wing nationalists of endangering the democratic control of ministers by the courts with a controversial judicial reform. Therefore, the future of Israeli democracy is at stake.
Politics should have more influence in the judiciary
The planned reform should enable Parliament, among other things, to overrule decisions of the Supreme Court with a simple majority. In addition, politicians should have more influence in the appointment of judges. The coalition wants to push through key elements of the controversial reform in fast-track procedures by the end of the month. Critics see the separation of powers as a pillar of democracy in danger and warn of a dangerous state crisis.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, on the other hand, accuses the Supreme Court of being dominated by left-leaning judges who, for political reasons, meddle in areas beyond their jurisdiction. And personal motives could also play a role: Netanyahu himself is currently being tried for corruption allegations.
Alternative already rejected
President Isaac Herzog has called for the reform to be postponed and recently presented his own plan. However, this was rejected by Netanyahu. On Thursday, Chancellor Olaf Scholz expressed concern about the project at a press conference with Netanyahu in Berlin.
The protest movement is one of the largest in Israel’s history and encompasses broad sections of society. There is also increasing resistance from the army. Hundreds of elite officers from the military reserve, for example, announced that they would no longer report for duty from Sunday.