Protests in Israel continue for 11th week after PM Netanyahu rejects President Herzog’s proposal
For the eleventh week in a row, Israelis demonstrated against the hard-right government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the proposed judicial reforms. Demonstrations were held in cities all across the country on Saturday as people protested the judicial overhaul they believe would give politicians more control over the judiciary.
The overhaul, which is now making its way through parliament, will constitute a threat to Israeli democracy, the protesters said. Thousands of protesters carried the blue and white Israeli flag as well as the rainbow flag representing the LGBTQ community at Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff plaza on Saturday. When they marched through the city’s centre, the protesters halted traffic. “Save Democracy!” shouted one poster held up by the mob.
Over 100 towns and cities, including Haifa, Jerusalem, and Beersheba, saw protests. Netanyahu, who is on trial for a corruption accusation that he denies, has been accused by the reforms’ detractors of seeking to use the judicial reforms to thwart any judgements against himself. However, the prime minister refuted all such claims.
President Isaac Herzog on Wednesday proposed a compromise but it was promptly rejected by the cabinet.
As per Herzog’s outline, new Basic Laws, Israel’s quasi-constitutional laws, are to be put on hold until the whole outline is put into effect. The plan also calls for no alteration in the roles between the branches, the Attorney-General and legal adviser, and the judiciary.
In a joint press conference on Thursday, the leaders of the opposition parties displayed their support for Herzog’s plan. “The offer is not perfect,” said former premier Yair Lapid. “It is not what we wanted, but it is a fair compromise that allows us to live together.”
On the other hand, Netanyahu called it a “unilateral compromise” and added that the “key points” of Herzog’s outline “only perpetuate the existing situation and do not bring the required balance between the powers”.
The ruling coalition, which is made up of extreme-right and ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties, claims the reforms are required to address an imbalance of power between elected officials and Israel’s highest court.
(With inputs from agencies)
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