Israelis take to streets despite judicial reform freeze

Published April 2nd, 2023 - 10:36 GMT
Israelis take to streets, despite judicial reforms freeze
(Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP)
Demonstrators demanded Netanyahu's government to completely scrap the idea

ALBAWABA - Tens of thousands of Israelis took to the streets in the largest protest march across the country since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he intends to carry out judicial reforms. The demonstrations come days after Netanyahu suspended the amendments.

Saturday's protest was called to show rejection against the judicial amendments that Netanyahu's government may plan in the future.

The demonstrators demanded Netanyahu's government to completely scrap the idea, instead of just suspending the decision.

International media outlets quoted the protest organizers as saying that "the government does not want to reach an agreement, it just wants to buy time."

Protesters carried Israeli flags chanting "democracy," and banners, which read: "Democracy is stronger than this government" and "Arrest Netanyahu."

On Monday, the Israeli prime minister said he was putting off plans to introduce the draft bill after mass protests and a general strike struck different areas of the country. He said the aim was to "make room for dialogue" and reach a compromise that satisfies Netanyahu's right-wing "Likud" party, the ultra-orthodox government coalition and opposition parties.

There were conflicting reports on the number of protesters. While some estimates put it at 150,000 in different parts of Israel, others said the number was three times more.

Rallies were organized in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and other cities, but the largest was in Tel Aviv and attracted opposition leader Yair Lapid.

The protests witnessed individual clashes with the police, which ended up with the arrest of some demonstrators. Tel Aviv police reportedly used water cannon to disperse the crowds.

Israel's parliament, or Knesset, had approved a draft "Judicial Reform Law," which would have limited the power of the Supreme Court and the judicial branch of power generally in favor of the Cabinet.

Opponents described the draft bill as a "coup." They insisted that the bill would "destroy democracy."

Netanyahu insisted, however, that the amendment aims to restore balance between the branches of power.

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