Sunday, April 21, 2024

Israelis stage mass rally against Netanyahu’s proposed judicial reforms

Tens of thousands of protesters have marched for a sixth straight week in Tel Aviv against the so-called legal reforms planned by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The demonstrators turned up throughout the coastal city’s central area on Saturday, many holding a large banner that read, “No one is above the law.”

No official figures were released on the size of the protest, but Israeli media reported around 50,000 demonstrators, with the daily Haaretz reporting up to 75,000.

Similar protests were held outside Netanyahu’s residence in the occupied city of al-Quds and also in the port city of Haifa.

The protests have now become a weekly fixture on Saturday evenings since Netanyahu’s new cabinet, which has been dubbed as the most right-wing in the regime’s history, took office in late December.

Netanyahu, who has already functioned as the regime’s prime minister longer than any other politician, was reinstated as premier in late December after stitching up a coalition of hard-right and ultra-Orthodox parties.

In order to buy the parties’ loyalty, he has promised them to advance their desired schemes.

These include the alleged reforms that seek to tighten political control over judicial appointments and limit the Supreme Court’s powers to overturn the cabinet’s decisions or Knesset (the Israeli parliament)’s laws.

The coalition, however, claims that the reforms are needed to curb, what it calls, overreach by judges.

Netanyahu has himself dismissed the public furor that has ensued his announcement of the reforms, as refusal by his leftist opponents to accept the results of last November’s election, which gave him his mandate to form the regime’s ruling coalition.

“We’re not going to give up,” many shouted during the Saturday demonstration.

In 2019, Netanyahu became the regime’s first sitting prime minister to be indicted over corruption while in office, but refused to step down.

Saturday protesters called for Netanyahu, who is still fighting corruption charges in court, to resign.

Also during the day, the regime’s Channel 12 released results of a poll that showed 62% of people were against the legal reforms throughout the occupied territories.

The first reading of the reforms bill is slated for Monday. Leaders of the protest movement opposing the reforms have called for a strike on the same day.

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