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Israelis continue anti-government rallies on day of 'escalating resistance'

March 16, 2023 at 1:31 pm

An aerial view of streets where Israelis take part in the “Day of Resistance” rally to protest the Israeli government plan to introduce judicial changes [Amir Terkel – Anadolu Agency]

Thousands of Israelis, on Thursday, are expected to join the anti-government rallies across Israel, protesting government plans to inflict radical changes on Israel’s judicial authority structure, Anadolu News Agency reports.

Thursday’s rallies were held under the banner of “escalating resistance” with the main rally taking place in central Tel Aviv city.

The rallies come as the head of Israeli opposition, Yair Lapid, agreed on the proposal by Israeli President, Isaac Herzog, to solve the ongoing crisis, while the Israeli government rejected it.

On Wednesday, Herzog presented a modified plan to reform the judiciary, after the original plan presented by the government sparked a major division within society.

READ: US investors warn Israel judicial overhaul will prevent future investments

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, however, announced his rejection to Herzog’s plan, and said in a tweet that “any attempt to reach an understanding and talk is certainly appropriate … but, unfortunately, the matters presented by the President were not agreed upon by the representatives of the coalition.”

During a speech earlier Wednesday, Herzog warned of the outbreak of civil war in Israel in the light of the sharp division in the Israeli society due to the government plan that weakens the authority of the judiciary.

In the past two months, thousands of Israelis have taken to the streets to protest Netanyahu’s plans for judicial overhaul, seen by the opposition as an attempt to reduce the powers of the judicial authority in favour of the executive authority.

Proposed by Justice Minister, Yariv Levin, the reform, if enacted, would be the most radical change ever in the system of government in Israel.

The planned change would severely limit the power of the Supreme Court of Justice, give the government the power to choose judges, and end the appointment of legal advisers to ministries by the Attorney General.

However, Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, insists that his judicial plan would enhance democracy and would restore balance between the legislative, executive and judicial powers.

READ: Netanyahu: Judicial overhaul to go ahead, opposition organising coup