Tel Aviv: Thousands of Israeli protesters participated in nationwide demonstrations that continued for the 11th straight week against the government’s plans to shackle the judiciary, Times of Israel reported.
The protesters vowed to escalate the demonstrations if the coalition doesn’t halt its legislative proposals, which lawmakers are due to advance next week, declaring this coming Thursday a “national day of paralysis.”
This weekend’s protest came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other ministers slapped down President Isaac Herzog’s proposal for an alternative judicial reform.
Herzog proposed the plans to allow a simple majority of 61 in the 120-seat Knesset to override almost any supreme court rulings and to allow politicians to appoint most of the justices to the bench.
The changes are spearheaded not by the prime minister but by his Likud colleague Yariv Levin, the justice minister, and the Religious Zionist MK Simcha Rothman, who chairs the Knesset’s law and justice committee, according to Times of Israel.
“Next week Israel’s government intends to pass the dictatorship and religious coercion law,” protest organizers said in a statement Saturday.
“Hundreds of people will line up against them like an iron wall and back the High Court and heads of the [judicial] system to stop the coup. Every citizen must come out and take a stand in these fateful moments of the State of Israel. Together, hundreds of thousands will save Israeli democracy,” they added.
Over 260,000 people demonstrated across the country, including 175,000 in Tel Aviv, 20,000 in Haifa, 4,000 in Netanya, 11,500 in Herzliya, 18,000 in Kfar Saba, and 6,000 in Beersheba, according to a count by company Crowd Solution cited by Channel 13 news.
Meanwhile, Jacob Frenkel, a former Bank of Israel chief who until recently chaired JP Morgan Chase International, warned that the coalition’s far-reaching plans for overhauling the judicial system are “destroying the Zionist enterprise from within.,” reported Times of Israel.
In a separate development, at least 4 Palestinians were killed and 23 others were wounded in Jenin on Thursday in the occupied West Bank region, CNN reported citing the Palestinian Authority Health Ministry.
The Health Ministry stated that five of those injured are in critical condition.
(Except for the headline, the story has not been edited by Siasat staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)