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Netanyahu ignores tens of thousands of protesters criticising his judicial overhaul

January 16, 2023 at 1:39 pm

Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu (C) holds weekly cabinet meeting at the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) in Jerusalem [Israeli Government Press Office – Anadolu Agency]

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, ignored an 80,000-strong rally organised on Saturday night in protest against his government’s plans to remake Israel’s judiciary.

During his cabinet meeting, Netanyahu told his ministers that the elections represented the will of the Israelis so that he does not care about these protests.

“Two months ago, there was a huge demonstration, the mother of all demonstrations. Millions of people went into the streets in order to vote in the elections. One of the main topics that they voted on was reforming the judicial system,” Netanyahu said.

“Everyone who was at our election rallies, in city centres and in neighbourhoods, heard the voices rising from the crowds,” he said, according to his office.

He added: “Millions of people went into the streets in order to vote in the elections. One of the main topics that they voted on was reforming the judicial system.”

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Netanyahu, who is being accused of carrying out the judicial overhaul in order to protect himself from being convicted over his corruption charges, said he respected the government when he was in the opposition.

“I must say that when we were in the opposition, we did not call for civil war and did not speak about the destruction of the State, even when the government made decisions that we vociferously opposed. I expect the leaders of the opposition to do the same,” he said, insisting that judicial changes would “restore the public’s trust in the justice system.”

On Sunday, the yearly Israeli Democracy Index by the Israel Democracy Institute underlined deep – and, in many cases, growing – fissures in Israeli society, the Times of Israel reported.

It also reported the Democracy Index as saying that it found evidence of dropping levels of trust in public institutions, unhappiness with the current state of affairs and pessimism about the future.

As he received the report, Israel’s President, Isaac Herzog, said the figures came in the report “are unpleasant”, noting they are “coming on top of other sections of the report that reflect the internal tensions within us.”

He also said: “In other words, our cohesion is being weakened, and we must do everything to rebuild it.”

Meanwhile, Israeli TV, Channel 12, reported Sunday night that the coalition, MK, will only make small “cosmetic” adjustments to the planned judicial overhaul, hours after Herzog saying he would attempt to mediate between the warring sides over the issue.

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