Large crowds of protesters across Israel have come out in the 27th consecutive week of demonstrations against the government’s judicial overhaul plans that is supposed to be put to vote this week.
For the 27th consecutive week of massive protests in Israel against the controversial judicial overhaul plan, large crowds of people took to the streets again this Saturday night in different cities across Israel.
It was back in January this year that upon the introduction of the bill, anti-government protest movement sparked across Israel and is still continuing larger and more violent than before.
Eye witnesses said that only in Tel Aviv, more than 180,000 people took to the streets and another 180,000 Israelis poured into the streets in other cities, making Saturday’s gathering the largest in the past 6 months in Israel. Netanyahu’s allies have proposed a series of changes to the Israeli legal system aimed at weakening what they say are the excessive powers of unelected judges.
What has made Israeli people furious and disappointed is that the proposed changes include giving Netanyahu’s allies control over the appointment of judges and the power to overturn court decisions they do not support. In other words, protestors believe that these changes is too much and will destroy Israel’s fragile system of checks and balances and concentrate power in the hands of Netanyahu and his allies.
But it is not the end of the story, because it seems Netanyahu has some other ulterior motives for his persistency in legalizing the judicial overhaul plan. As his critics say, Netanyahu has a conflict of interest because he is on trial for corruption charges, and limiting the authorities of the Supreme Court means he can easily escape his charges without a fair trial. All in all, Critics say removing that standard would allow the government to pass arbitrary decisions and grant it too much power.
That’s why a wide range of people from different status in Israel, including reserve military officers, business leaders, LGBT and other minority groups, are among the opponents of the plan.
Netanyahu’s government is eliminating any opposing voice
Under immense pressure from his own people, Netanyahu was forced to delay voting for the plan back in March. However, he and his far-right government seem to be too stubborn to hear peoples’ voice and he announced last month that the plan would move forward, not to mention that Netanyahu is now planning to move on with the voting. The protests have blocked roads, disrupted Israel’s main airport and thronged major cities. But none has yet been able to dissuade Netanyahu from doing what he shouldn’t be doing.
A legislative committee chaired by a Netanyahu ally last week approved a bill that would prevent Israel’s courts from scrutinizing the “reasonableness” of decisions made by elected officials. The legislature could hold a preliminary vote on the bill as early as this coming Monday.
Netanyahu also ousted Tel Aviv’s police chief, Ami Eshed, who said this week he was forced to resign because of political pressure to act violently toward protesters.
Since the far-right government in Israel came to power early this year, Eshed has been clashing with the hardline national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, who has demanded that police to take a tougher stance against protestors.