Thousands Protest in Israel as Netanyahu Allies Push Controversial Judicial Reform

Thousands of Israelis protest new government

Thousands of Israelis protest the new government’s far-right policies


Thousands of Israelis protested outside the country’s parliament on Monday ahead of a preliminary vote on a bill that would give politicians greater power over appointing judges, part of a judicial reform proposed by the prime minister’s government. Benjamin Netanyahu. It was the most recent series of protests which have seen tens of thousands of Israelis take to the streets in recent weeks to protest proposed reforms, among other things.

The committee vote, expected to take place after a stormy session, marked the opening salvo by Netanyahu and his allies in a plan that has divided the country, sparked mass protests and even drawn concern from President Joe Biden.

Crowds of demonstrators arriving in Jerusalem climbed the escalators at the city’s main train station chanting “democracy”, applauding and whistling, and waving the national flag. A few hundred people gathered in protest at Jerusalem’s Western Wall, the holiest place where Jews can pray.

Thousands of Israelis protest the new government’s far-right policies


In parliament, opposition lawmakers vehemently protested the proposed reform to judge nominations ahead of a committee vote that would send the bill to parliament for a vote. During an unruly session, opposition members stood up at the conference table and shouted as a key Netanyahu ally tried to hold back the vote.

Crowds of people marched into the Knesset, Israel’s legislature, a day after the country’s president urged Netanyahu’s government to delay proposed changes to the judiciary – moves that critics say will weaken the country’s Supreme Court and erode the brakes. and democratic counterweights.

Many protesters carried Israel’s blue and white flag and signs condemning what they saw as an attack on the country’s democratic institutions. “Shame on you! Shame on you!” they sang.

Protest against the Israeli government in Jerusalem
Israelis take part in a protest against the right-wing government outside the Knesset in Jerusalem on February 13, 2023.

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Other demonstrations were held outside schools across the country.

Netanyahu and his supporters say the proposed changes are necessary to rein in a judiciary that wields too much power. He and his allies took office in December after the country’s fifth election in less than four years, toppling a heavyweight coalition of his opponents that had held office for just over a year.

But its critics say the judicial reform amounts to a coup and will destroy Israeli democracy by giving lawmakers the ability to overturn decisions made by the country’s Supreme Court. They also say Netanyahu, whose corruption trial is dragging into its third year, is motivated by a personal grudge against the legal system and has a deep conflict of interest. Netanyahu claims he is the victim of a witch hunt by prosecutors and the justice system.

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