Only one week after thousands of Israelis came to the streets in Tel Aviv to protest against Israel’s new government, a new demonstration happened this Saturday for the same reason.
Less than one month after the new government in Israel sworn in, thousands of Israeli people took to the streets in Tel Aviv once against this Saturday to protest against it and the controversial decisions it has made.
What the Israelis are particularly worried about is the changes that Netanyahu’s government has announced to make in Israel’s Supreme Court of Justice. The changes, if applied, would severely limit the power of the Supreme Court and instead, give the government the power to choose judges.
It also means the end the appointment of legal advisers to ministries by the attorney general. Last but not least, the reforms, proposed by Justice Minister Yariv Levin, would give Israel’s parliament the power to overturn supreme court decisions with a simple majority vote, which many say will ruin democracy in Israel.
Exactly one week before, on January11, nearly 80,000 Israelis poured into the streets of Tel Aviv to show their opposition and discontent to the new government, which includes far-right, ultraconservative and religious parties and is therefore considered the most extreme government in Israel’s history.
“This is a fight for our homes, for our future, for the future of our children. It is the same way as every modern liberal democracy has fallen. This is the initial step…To divide and cancel the link between the different branches of government,” one protestor said speaking to the CBS New reporter.
In this Saturday demonstration in Tel Aviv’s Kaplan Street area, more than 60.000 Israelis took part to send their strong voice of opposition to Netanyahu, his government, and the controversial decisions they have so far made. Another protest attended by nearly 10,000 demonstrators took place at Habima Square in Tel Aviv.
Will Israel see a civil war?
Considering two huge and unprecedented demonstrations only in one week in Israel where tens of thousands of Israelis took to the streets in opposition to the government, it is feared that the extreme approach that Netanyahu has taken risks a civil war in Israel.
Netanyahu, who himself is on trial for corruption, defended the controversial reforms, saying he has a mandate from millions of voters to carry out the changes. But as the demonstrations showed, taking the power from the Supreme Court and giving it to the government, especially one which includes the most extreme far-right politicians, is the last thing that Israelis want.
For this reason, a lot of senior Israeli figures have warned recently of the possibility of a civil war in Israel, or what they call a “fratricidal war” between Jews if the new government continue surprising people with its politically-motivated decisions.
Former Chief of Staff and Minister of Defense Benny Gantz was one of such figures who recently warned of the possibility of a fratricidal war inside Israel. He made his comments last month and in the wake of the announcement of judicial reform by the Netanyahu government. “If the rumors are real,” said Benny Gantz, referring to the Supreme Court’s reforms, “then I am very worried about Israel’s solidarity.”
He also called on Israelis to take to the streets in protest against Netanyahu’s proposed judicial overhaul, arguing that the majority of Israelis oppose what he described as Netanyahu’s “coup d’etat.” Law Professor and former President of the Supreme Court Aharon Barak also said that if Levin’s plan for the judiciary materializes, then Israel will have to face what he described as “the beginning of the end of the third Temple.”