Israelis protest legal changes before nation’s 75th birthday

TEL AVIV, Israel – Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Tel Aviv and cities across Israel on Saturday to voice their opposition to the far-right government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his divisive plan to reform the system judicial of the country.

The mass protest, which has erupted weekly since the start of the year, comes just ahead of Israel’s 75th birthday celebration. The holiday honoring Israel’s founding in 1948, normally meant to be a display of national unity, has been marred by one of Israel’s worst crises in its history. The Netanyahu government’s plans to weaken the Supreme Court have outraged Israelis who see it as an assault on their country’s system of checks and balances and a threat to their very democracy.

“This is not about so-called judicial reform, this is about democracy,” Sheila Katz, head of the National Council of Jewish Women, said from the rally in central Tel Aviv, a sea of ​​blue and white national flags. “In order for your sacred courts to protect the rights of all people, they must remain independent of politics.”

A crowd of Israelis carried signs marked Israel’s 75th birthday and banners with the words “minister of crime” over Netanyahu’s face.

The protests have galvanized people across Israeli society. Thousands of officers in the army’s elite reserve units have said they will refuse to report for duty. High-tech business leaders and the security establishment have spoken out against the proposal. The unions have called a general strike.

President Biden, the leader of Israel’s most crucial ally, has even publicly rejected Netanyahu, telling him he “cannot continue down this path.”

Furious public protests last month brought Israeli cities to a standstill and threatened to shut down the economy, forcing Netanyahu to delay the plan in hopes of finding a compromise.

But the protesters have not been discouraged. A crowd of Israelis chanting “Shame!” have flooded the streets in the weeks since Netanyahu stepped down, demanding that the review be scrapped entirely.

The plan would give Netanyahu, who is on trial on corruption charges, and his partners in Israel’s toughest-ever coalition, the final say in the appointment of judges. It would also give parliament, which is controlled by its allies, the authority to overturn Supreme Court decisions and limit the court’s ability to review laws.

Source link

Related Posts

Next Post