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Thousands of Israelis protest against government's judicial overhaul

July 23, 2023 at 1:28 pm

Hundreds of Israeli citizens, who oppose the judicial regulation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition, march with their Israeli flags from Tel Aviv to West Jerusalem to protest in Jerusalem on July 22, 2023. [Mostafa Alkharouf – Anadolu Agency]

Tens of thousands of Israelis protested across the country on Saturday ahead of a vote on the bill that would limit the Supreme Court from using the standard of “reasonableness” to strike down government decisions, Anadolu reports.

A contentious judicial overhaul plan spearheaded by Prime Minister Netanyahu has sparked 29 weeks of mass protests. The overhaul also calls for changing the way judges are selected.

The premier’s allies say the package is meant to restore power to elected officials, but critics argue it is a power grab by Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption charges.

While the protesters carrying Israeli flags rallied at over 150 locations nationwide, others made their way to the parliament in Jerusalem, culminating a four-day, 70km march from Tel Aviv. The demonstrators gathered in a park near the Israeli parliament and set up tents.

In Tel Aviv, hosting the largest demonstration, protesters gathered in front of the government complex on Kaplan Street.

Opposition leaders, including former Prime Minister Yair Lapid, also joined demonstrations in different parts of the country. He warned of serious harm to the military if a bill to curb judicial oversight over government decisions passes.

“There are only two possibilities for the government in the coming days: Destroy the country or destroy itself …,” he said.

READ: Military protests against judicial reforms threaten Israel’s security, say officials