Pressure mounts on Netanyahu as protests enter 11th week
Mar 19, 2023
Tel Aviv [Israel], March 19: Thousands of people came out in force again on Saturday in Israel to protest the right-wing religious government's controversial judicial reforms, which critics denounce as anti-democratic.
In the eleventh week of protests, demonstrators marched through the centre of Tel Aviv with Israeli flags and protest signs reading: "No to dictatorship" and "Israel is not yet Iran." Rallies were also planned in cities such as Jerusalem, Haifa and Beersheba.
For over two months, thousands of people have been demonstrating against President Benjamin Netanyahu's proposed reforms.
The plans would allow parliament to overturn decisions of the Supreme Court with a simple majority. In addition, politicians are to be given more influence in appointing judges.
Critics see this as a threat to the democratic separation of powers. They also fear the reforms could allow Netanyahu to escape conviction in his ongoing corruption trial.
His coalition wants to fast-track core elements of the controversial reform by the end of the month - a provocative move that many fear would stir up even greater instability.
Netanyahu rejected a proposal for a compromise by Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Wednesday. He said it was unbalanced and would only cement current affairs.
The opposition backed the proposal. "It is not perfect, but it is a fair compromise that allows us to live here together," said opposition leader YairLapid.
If Israel descended into civil war, he said, there would only be losers.
Herzog stressed that the proposal was only meant as a basis for further talks.
The protest movement is one of the largest in Israel's history and includes broad sections of society.
Even members of the army have come out to oppose the bill. Hundreds of elite officers from the military reserve announced that they would no longer report for duty as of Sunday.
Source: Qatar Tribune