Israelis still protest law overhaul despite suspension
Tens of thousands of Israelis are protesting a controversial plan to overhaul the country’s justice system, despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s suspension of changes earlier in the week
TEL-AVIV, Israel — Tens of thousands of Israelis demonstrated on Saturday against a controversial plan to overhaul the country’s justice system, despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s suspension of changes earlier in the week.
Protesters gathered in Tel Aviv, Israel’s commercial hub on the Mediterranean, for the 13th weekly demonstration, raising Israeli flags and banners against what they said were plans to weaken the Supreme Court. Several small rallies were held in other towns and villages.
Protests have continued since Netanyahu’s government, the most right-wing in the country’s history, introduced the changes.
But on Monday, Netanyahu delayed the overhaul plan that has deeply divided Israelis, saying he wanted to “avoid civil war” by taking the time to seek a compromise with political opponents. Protest organizers, however, have vowed to keep up the pressure, calling for the plans to be scrapped.
The proposal plunged Israel into its worst domestic crisis in decades. Business leaders, top economists and former security chiefs have all spoken out against the plan, saying it is pushing the country towards autocracy. Fighter pilots and military reservists threatened not to show up for work, and the country’s currency, the shekel, plummeted.
The plan would give Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, and his allies the final say in appointing the country’s judges. It would also give Parliament, which is controlled by its allies, the power to overrule Supreme Court decisions and limit the Court’s ability to review laws.
Netanyahu argued the overhaul was necessary to rein in a liberal and overly interventionist court made up of unelected judges. But his opponents say the package would harm the country’s system of checks and balances by concentrating power in the hands of Netanyahu’s allies. They also say he has a conflict of interest as a criminal defendant.