The Israeli protest proposed legal changes for the 10th week
Tens of thousands of Israelis protested Saturday against a controversial plan to overhaul the judiciary as the government pressed ahead with the plan.
TEL AVIV, Israel — Tens of thousands of Israelis protested Saturday against a controversial plan to overhaul the judiciary as the government pressed ahead with the plan.
National demonstrations have been regular weekly events for more than two months.
Despite the protests, Netanyahu and his allies have vowed to introduce a series of bills that would strip the Supreme Court of its ability to review legislation and give coalition politicians control over judicial appointments.
Critics say the changes will destroy the country’s system of checks and balances and concentrate power in the hands of the prime minister and his allies.
“We are protesting because if not, it is like compliance and we will never agree to the abolition of democracy in this country,” said Einat Gival-Levi, a protester. “It’s very important to raise awareness around the world.”
Hundreds of Israeli women’s rights activists dressed as characters from the television series “The Handmaid’s Tale” marched in downtown Tel Aviv to join the main protest.
The uproar over Benjamin Netanyahu’s government’s plans to amend the law has plunged Israel into one of its worst domestic political crises. In addition to the protests, which have drawn tens of thousands of Israelis to the streets and recently turned violent, opposition has grown from across society, with business leaders and legal officials speaking out against the plan’s destructive effects.
On Thursday, Netanyahu had to be airlifted to the country’s main international airport for an overseas trip after crowds of cars and protesters prevented him from driving there.
The split has not spared the Israeli army, which is experiencing unprecedented resistance within its own ranks.
Critics also say that Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, is motivated by personal grievances and may find an escape route from the charges through the overhaul. Netanyahu denies wrongdoing and says the legal changes have nothing to do with his trial.
The protests were largely dominated by the country’s secular middle class. Israel’s Palestinian minority, which makes up about 20% of the population, has been largely absent, partly because they face discrimination in Israel and because of Israel’s treatment of their Palestinian brethren in the West Bank and Gaza.