Thursday, June 20, 2024

Huge rallies held against Israeli PM’s “judicial coup” for 22nd week

Tens of thousands of Israeli demonstrators have rallied in Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities to protest judicial overhaul plans by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. It comes despite prime minister’s announcement in March that the contentious legal proposals were being put on hold.

The protests, now in their 22nd week, continued on Saturday despite Netanyahu’s announcement in March that the contentious legal proposals were being put on hold.

In the central city of Tel Aviv, some 100,000 people waved Israeli flags, lit torches and beat drums, according to Israeli media.

“We will keep demonstrating to show them that even if they have paused in the reform plan, we will stay mobilised – they will not be able to pass laws on the sly,” said Ilit Fayn, a 55-year-old dentist.

Netanyahu’s government, a coalition between his Likud party and extreme-right as well as ultra-Orthodox Jewish allies, argues the proposed changes are needed to rebalance powers between legislators and the judiciary.

Critics say it will grant the government unrestrained power and upend the country’s system of checks and balances.

The plan would weaken the judiciary and limit judicial oversight on laws and government decisions, which critics say directly threatens civil rights as well as the rights of minorities and marginalised groups.

Protests have continued even though the government and opposition are in talks to find a compromise on the plan.

“It’s important for us to eliminate the possibility of Israel becoming a dictatorship,” Arnon Oshri, a 66-year-old farmer, told the AFP news agency.

“This corrupt government is full of outlaws who are degrading our country to the level of a third-world country,” he continued, adding, “It took 2,000 years for the Jewish people to have a state and we cannot lose it because of a bunch of fanatics.”

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