Israeli democracy, as the people say in protests, is in danger from the amendments that are being considered by the government and would give politicians more control over the judiciary.
Israelis thronged the nation’s streets on Saturday in the eleventh week of statewide protests over the hard-right government’s proposals to limit the Supreme Court’s authority, which opponents regard as a threat to judicial independence.
The demonstrators believe that the planned reforms, which would give politicians more control over the judiciary and are now making their way through parliament, constitute a threat to Israeli democracy itself.
Thousands of protesters raised the Israeli flag and the rainbow flag representing the LGBTQ+ community at Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Plaza.
Naama Mazor, a retired woman from Herzliya, said she was more concerned for her daughters and grandchildren than for herself.
“We want to keep Israel democratic and liberal—Jewish, of course, but liberal. We are very worried that it will turn into a dictatorship,” she told AFP.
There isn’t a half-democracy, either. Either democracy or dictatorship governs us. There isn’t anything in between.”
The government is “trying to destroy civil rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, and everything that democracy stands for,” according to Sagiv Golan, 46, of Tel Aviv. We want to demonstrate the voice of democracy. “.
Over 100 towns and cities, including Haifa, Jerusalem, and Beersheba, were reported to have seen protests by Israeli media.
Even the occupied West Bank, long regarded as Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition partners’ political stronghold, was the target of protests. At a central intersection in the West Bank town of Efrat, more than fifty mostly modern Orthodox Jewish protesters waved blue and white flags and sang traditional Jewish songs.
Shmuel Wygoda, a college professor, told Reuters in Efrat, “What they are trying to do is monopolize, to have all the power in their hands.”
“We know from history, from totalitarian regimes, that all power is unfortunately used against the people once you have all the power in the hands of one side.”
At a central village where far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir was spending the weekend earlier on Saturday, protesters staged a demonstration.
“Challenge me however much you need,” Ben-Gvir said on Twitter. ” I will defend your protest right. But why do loudspeakers congregate outside the synagogue windows, honk, scream, and cause people to break Shabbat?
The package’s opponents have accused Netanyahu, who is currently being tried on corruption charges and denies them, of trying to use the reforms to stop any verdicts against him. The accusation has been refuted by the prime minister.
President Isaac Herzog proposed a compromise on Wednesday, but the government rejected it right away, expressing concern about the widening divide in Israeli society.
“Any individual who believes that a certified nationwide conflict, with living souls, is a line that we would never reach, has no clue about what he is referring to,” Herzog said.
During a joint news conference on Thursday, opposition party leaders stated that they supported Herzog’s outline.