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Israel: protests escalate to prevent MKs from leaving homes

February 21, 2023 at 11:33 am

People stage protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government’s judicial regulations and far-right policies continue in Tel Aviv, Israel on February 18, 2023 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

Israelis protesting against the government’s planned judicial reforms blocked coalition MKs from leaving their homes on Monday, Israeli media have reported. Protest organisers had declared a “national day of struggle”.

Many protesters blocked the entrance to the home of Religious Zionism MK Simcha Rothman, the head of the Knesset Law Constitution and Justice Committee. Rothman is the architect of the planned judicial overhaul. The protesters tried to stop his car from leaving for the Knesset.

Meanwhile, protesters also blocked the homes of Likud MK Tally Gotliv, who has been one of the most outspoken proponents of the reforms, and Education Minister Yoav Kisch, the Times of Israel reported. Eight people were detained by police outside their homes. Opposition leader Yair Lapid condemned the breach of security at Gotliv’s home.

“These are the thugs who are preaching ethics to us, who speak about human values when they are trampling those values into the ground,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “I thank those in the opposition who condemned this behaviour, and those who did not, you should be ashamed of yourselves… you have gone completely off the rails.”

The leaders of the protests are “destroying democracy,” claimed Netanyahu. “They do not accept the results of the elections. They do not accept the majority’s decision. They do not condemn calls to murder the prime minister and his family. They do not condemn calls to harm and murder members of the Knesset.”

READ: Israel in turmoil as Parliament to hold first reading of judicial reforms