Tens of thousands of people braved heavy rains in Tel Aviv to protest the government’s plan to undermine Israel’s Supreme Court.
Tens of thousands of Israelis have gathered for five weeks of protests against controversial judicial reforms proposed by the government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Protesters in Tel Aviv’s central city braved heavy rains for Saturday’s protest, hoisting blue-and-white Israeli flags and chanting slogans directed at Netanyahu’s Justice Minister.
“I’m here tonight to protest Israel’s transition from democracy to authoritarianism,” Dov Levenglick, a 48-year-old software engineer, told Reuters news agency in Tel Aviv.
“It’s a disgrace, it won’t stand.”
The proposed changes, which the government needs to curb judicial overreach, have sparked fierce opposition from groups including lawyers, raised concerns among business leaders, and magnified already deep political divisions in Israeli society. are doing.
Critics say that if the government succeeds in pursuing the plan, it will undermine Israeli democracy, increase political control over judicial appointments, and limit the power of the Supreme Court to overturn government decisions and Knesset laws. say that it will
“They want to destroy Israel’s judicial system. They want to destroy Israeli democracy. To fight for ‘Tel Aviv.
Local media reported that protests were taking place in about 20 cities across the country.
Among the crowd in Haifa was former Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who said in a video posted on social media, “We will save the country because we don’t want to live in an undemocratic country.”
Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, has dismissed protests over his left-wing opposition’s refusal to accept the results of last November’s elections that produced one of the most right-wing governments in Israel’s history.
Last month, he was forced to sack Chief Minister Arie Deli, who heads the ultra-orthodox Shas Party, following a recent tax evasion conviction.
In addition to judicial changes, his government has announced its intention to expand illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, as well as social reforms that have worried the LGBTQ community.
Dania Schwartz, 44, from Ramat Gan, told AFP news agency the protesters were “reclaiming” the Israeli flag.
As a member of the LGBTQ community, she expressed concern that “this new government will try to pass laws that affect my children.”
“For example, the Gnome Party is trying to deny the legitimacy of families like ours. This is very scary.”