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Thousands of Israelis protest Netanyahu’s judicial reforms

On Saturday night, tens of thousands of Israelis took to the streets to protest the country’s hardline new government and plans to impose sweeping restrictions on its jurisdiction.

Police estimated that about 80,000 people took part in the largest demonstration in Tel Aviv’s liberal fortress, where protesters chanted “no democracy without a high court” and displayed signs with slogans such as “Save Israel.” shook the card.

Smaller protests also took place outside the presidential palace in Jerusalem and in the northern city of Haifa.

Demonstrations are the biggest show of public defiance since Benjamin Netanyahu returned to power Last month, he was the leader of what is widely regarded as the most right-wing coalition in Israeli history.

IsraelPresident Isaac Herzog warned on Sunday that bitter disputes over planned judicial reform would “rip our country apart” and vowed to try to mediate a compromise.

“I am currently focused on two key roles that I believe I have as president.

The new government, which combines Netanyahu’s Likud party with two ultra-orthodox groups and three far-right parties, has made reforming the country’s judicial system one of its main goals.

Earlier this month, Justice Minister Yariv Levin Proposed change This would allow the government and its allies to control the appointment of judges, allowing a simple majority of Congress to overturn decisions of the High Court and nullify the law.

Right-wing parties in Israel have long requested an overhaul It claims that the Supreme Court has become increasingly active over the past three decades, exercising powers never formally recognized to advance a broad leftist agenda.

However, the government’s proposals are alarming among liberal and centrist Israelis, who see them as politically motivated attacks on Israel’s checks and balances that undermine minority protections and foster corruption. is causing

Israel’s Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayyut said Thursday that the changes would destroy the independence of the judiciary and provide a “blank check” to pass the laws Congress wants, even if they violate basic civil rights. He said he would give it to Congress.

If the changes were implemented, “Israel’s 75th anniversary of independence will be remembered as the year in which the country’s democratic identity suffered a fatal blow,” she said.

Protesters who gathered at Habima Square in downtown Tel Aviv on Saturday night, despite torrential rain, expressed similar concerns. [checks and balances], could even be like Hungary and other places where democracy died. So we have to stop it now before it’s too late,” said Elan, a middle-aged Tel Avivian who joined the protest with his wife Ilana.

“We need to keep Israel normal and allow the rest of the world to talk to us. [If these judicial reforms are passed] The world will look at us like crazy. I want to make this a free country where people can wear what they want and say whatever they want.”

Omer, who attended the protest with his partner and 3-month-old son, said he decided to attend because he worried the government’s plan would undermine democracy.

“If these laws are passed, the government will basically have the ability to scrap and remove the pieces. [of the political spectrum] It’s not in the Union,” he said. “They are meant to work for the whole country, not just for themselves.”

Government officials have tried to downplay the importance of the protests, claiming they would not deter them from carrying out their programs.

“Tens of thousands of people attended tonight’s demonstration. Millions voted in the elections held here two and a half months ago,” Culture and Sports Minister Miki Zohar tweeted. wrote to

“We promised people to change, we promised governance, we promised reform, and we will deliver it,” he added.

https://www.ft.com/content/c01c82ed-6e33-46ce-92be-c2bcbb648754 Thousands of Israelis protest Netanyahu’s judicial reforms

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