Israelis, who hold demonstrations across the country every Saturday evening, against the judicial regulation of the extreme right-wing coalition government led by Netanyahu, were on the streets again in the ninth week of the protests.
Tens of thousands of Israelis participated in the demonstrations held in dozens of locations across the country, especially in Tel Aviv, as well as in major cities such as Haifa, West Jerusalem, Birussebi and Netanya. Some smaller settlements, such as Bat Yam, considered the stronghold of the Likud party led by Prime Minister Netanyahu, also witnessed protests for the first time.
As in previous weeks, tens of thousands of protesters gathered in front of the Government Complex on Kaplan Street in Tel Aviv, where the highest turnout took place.
Representatives from different non-governmental organizations and various sectors of Israel made pro-democracy speeches on the stage set up in the square.
The demonstrators also often called “Democracy” and the government, “Shame!” chanted slogans.
Banners criticizing the government’s judicial regulation such as “War on democracy” and “Protect the independence of the judiciary” were carried in the demonstration area, while banners with the inscription “Crime Minister” in English were displayed against Netanyahu’s Prime Minister.
Among the protesters at the Tel Aviv rally were activists who opposed the racist policies of the governing coalition of far-right parties against Palestinians, and activists who believed it was a threat to women’s rights.
One of the partners of the Netanyahu-led government coalition, the far-right Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir was also targeted by the demonstrators. Some protesters chanted “Ben Gvir, a terrorist” for Minister Ben-Gvir, who instructed the police to respond harshly to the demonstrators if actions such as roadblocks were resorted to.
Yair Lapid, the former prime minister who supported the demonstrations and leader of the opposition Yesh Atid (Future) party, also targeted Ben-Gvir in a statement on his Twitter account.
In his post, Lapid argued that Ben-Gvir, whom he described as a “dangerous Tiktok clown”, was trying to “incite and incite violence” between police and demonstrators.
Despite this, the Israeli opposition leader stressed that “the demonstrations will grow and become stronger”.
Netanyahu government’s “judicial reform”
The mass demonstrations of tens of thousands of people in Israel in different cities, especially in Tel Aviv, against the judicial regulation and right-wing policies of the Netanyahu government have left behind for 9 weeks.
Minister of Justice Yariv Levin announced on January 5 that they were planning a law that would limit the powers of the Supreme Court and reduce the influence of the judiciary on the selection of judges.
The moves of the coalition government led by Netanyahu to transfer some of the powers of the judiciary to the parliament caused tensions between the government and the Israeli judiciary, especially the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court of Israel, which serves as the highest judicial authority in the country, has the power to overturn the laws passed by the Assembly on the grounds that they are inconsistent with the “fundamental laws” accepted as the draft constitution.
The Netanyahu government stated in the judicial regulation it announced that it would deprive the Supreme Court of its authority to overturn the laws passed by the Parliament.
Israeli Chief Prosecutor, Gali Baharav-Miara, submitted his objections to the government’s judicial regulation in writing and shared that his concerns were focused on the deterioration of “separation of powers, independence of the judiciary and protection of individual rights”.