Israelis protest legal overhaul plans for 11th week
Israelis have been protesting in the streets for the 11th week against plans by the hardline government of Benjamin Netanyahu to overhaul the country’s legal system.
TEL AVIV, Israel — Israelis took to the streets on Saturday, now in their 11th week of protest against plans by Benjamin Netanyahu’s hardline government to overhaul the country’s legal system.
Protesters say the proposed changes undermine the country’s democracy by limiting the power of the Supreme Court. Netanyahu and his allies say the plan is needed to curb what they say are excessive powers of unelected judges.
Tens of thousands of people gathered at the main demonstration in the central city of Tel Aviv, waving Israeli flags and “dead end” traffic signs. and “Take risks ahead!” Smaller protests were reported in other parts of the country.
On Wednesday, Netanyahu quickly rejected Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s compromise proposal to resolve the impasse, deepening the crisis over the program that has roiled the country and drawn international criticism.
Israeli police deployed water cannons to disperse protesters gathered at a major junction in the northern Israeli city of Karkur.
Video obtained by The Associated Press showed the water cannon spraying the protesters as they chanted “Democracy” in Hebrew. It is not yet known if anyone was injured.
Netanyahu and his ultranationalist and religious coalition allies have vowed to push for legal changes despite the protests. Business leaders, legal experts and retired military leaders have joined the protests, with Israeli reservists threatening to stop service if the overhaul is successful.
In the latest step in the overhaul plans, Israel’s parliament on Monday introduced a bill that would make it harder to oust Netanyahu over corruption charges, as it foreshadowed a broader plan to overhaul the judiciary.