For the 10th week, demonstrations in Israel against judicial reform

In Israel, the challenge does not weaken against the reform of the judicial system that the government is trying to impose. For the tenth consecutive week, tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered again on Saturday evening in the country.

The right-wing and far-right coalition of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is preparing to speed up the legislative process from this Sunday to pass this reform, considered undemocratic by its detractors.

Gatherings without major incident

As on previous Saturdays, the main rally took place in central Tel Aviv where protesters, numbering more than 100,000 according to media reports, waved a wave of blue and white Israeli flags. The gatherings dispersed without major incident. Three protesters who were blocking traffic on the city’s ring road were arrested, police said.

Other demonstrations took place in the main cities of the country. According to Israeli media estimates, the rallies this Saturday broke attendance records in the cities of Haifa (north) and Beer Sheva (south), with 50,000 and 10,000 people respectively, significant figures reported to the Israeli population, a little over nine million inhabitants. The police do not, however, provide estimates of the number of demonstrators.

Knesset Law Committee Chairman Simcha Rothman has scheduled hearings on the judicial reform bill every day from Sunday to Wednesday. He thus seems to reject the calls to slow down or interrupt the examination of the texts to allow compromise negotiations and to stick strictly to the timetable he had announced with the Minister of Justice Yariv Levin. This timetable provides for the adoption of the main elements of the reform before the end of the winter session of the Knesset, on April 2.

The president opposes the government

This reform would considerably limit the possibility for the Supreme Court to invalidate laws and would in fact give the majority political coalition the power to appoint judges. On Thursday evening, Israeli President Isaac Herzog for his part called for the legislative process to be halted on this judicial reform project, calling it a “threat to the foundations of democracy”.

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