Israelis back on streets to protest judicial overhaul

Thousands of Israelis demonstrated on Saturday in Tel Aviv and other cities across occupied Palestinian territories against the hard-right government's judicial overhaul, opponents see as a threat to "democracy".

The reform package has split the nation and triggered one of the biggest protest movements in Israel’s history since being unveiled in January by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition, which includes extreme-right and ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties.

Demonstrators have kept up pressure on the Netanyahu government with weekly protests across the country.

Several thousand protesters gathered on Saturday in the commercial hub Tel Aviv, Israeli media reported. Some were waving Israeli flags and chanting “Democracy, democracy”.

The government views the reform, which would give politicians more power over the courts, as a necessary step to curb overreach by unelected judges.

Opponents of the overhaul fear it may lead to more authoritarian government.

Parliament last month passed the first key component of the reform package, which limits judicial oversight of some government decisions.

Netanyahu, who is fighting corruption charges in court, has said he would be willing to negotiate with the opposition though previous mediation efforts have failed.

In any case, the legislation will not move forward before parliament returns from summer recess in October.

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