500,000 Israelis Join Protests vs Netanyahu's Judicial Overhaul
More than 500,000 Israelis took to the streets in the 10th consecutive week of protests against plans by the government of Benjamin Netanyahu to overhaul the country’s judicial system, organizers claimed, Hadas Gold and Amir Tal reported for CNN.
Photo Insert: On Thursday, President Isaac Herzog – whose role is largely ceremonial – urged the Netanyahu government to take the judicial overhaul legislation off the table.
Israel has a population of just over 9 million, so if organizers’ estimates are correct, about 5% of Israelis came out to voice their opposition to the proposed reforms.
Nearly half of the protesters – about 240,000 – gathered in Tel Aviv, the organizers said. In Jerusalem, several hundred demonstrators gathered in front of President Isaac Herzog’s house. They carried Israeli flags and chanted slogans including “Israel will not be a dictatorship.”
On Thursday, Herzog – whose role is largely ceremonial – urged the Netanyahu government to take the judicial overhaul legislation off the table.
Protesters and critics of Netanyahu’s plan say it would weaken the country’s courts and erode the judiciary’s ability to check the power of the country’s other branches of government.
The package of legislation would give Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, the power to overrule Supreme Court (SC) decisions with a simple majority and grant Netanyahu the power to nominate judges.
It would remove power and independence from government ministries’ legal advisers, and take away the power of the courts to invalidate “unreasonable” government appointments, as the High Court did in January, forcing Netanyahu to fire Interior and Health Minister Aryeh Deri, Michael Schwartz and Matthias Somm also reported for CNN.