Today: Wednesday, 24 April 2024 year

An anti-government rally began in Tel Aviv.

An anti-government rally began in Tel Aviv.

Nationwide protests continue in Israel over judicial reform promoted by Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, with tens of thousands of protesters attending an anti-government rally in Tel Aviv for the 38th time.

This Saturday, protest organizers traditionally announced actions in dozens of places throughout Israel, including major cities. According to estimates from the Israeli company Crowd Solutions, which studies crowd behavior at public events, more than 110 thousand people gathered at the main protest on Kaplan Street in Tel Aviv. The most massive demonstrations against judicial reform in Tel Aviv previously attracted up to 200 thousand protesters.

Today’s protest took place under the slogan “there is no forgiveness for dictatorship” in light of the approaching of the most important date of the Jewish calendar – Judgment Day (Yom Kippur), which, according to tradition, is the Day of Atonement and Forgiveness. In 2023, Yom Kippur begins on the evening of September 24, a few minutes before sunset, and ends on the night of September 25.

 

This week, as the constitutional crisis in Israel worsened, protests against Netanyahu’s government also took place in the United States during the prime minister’s visit to the 78th session of the UN General Assembly. In particular, thousands of protesters gathered in New York during Netanyahu’s meeting with US President Joe Biden during the prime minister’s speech at the UN. The liberal public in Israel was dissatisfied with the fact that Netanyahu, during his speech from the UN rostrum, ignored the topic of judicial reform, which actually split Israeli society in half.


The protest area in Tel Aviv, where a complex of government buildings is located, was completely blocked to traffic. Kaplan Street and nearby roads and intersections were filled with protesters. Police and doctors were on duty at the scene. Protesters shouted anti-government slogans and waved national flags.
Netanyahu’s government has faced 38 weeks of unprecedented protests against his overhaul of the country’s legal system. On some days, according to protest organizers, up to half a million people took to the streets of Israeli cities, which is a very significant figure for a country whose population does not exceed ten million. Protests are often accompanied by clashes with police, arrests, blocking of highways, transport routes and even the airport.


The government argues that the reform is aimed at achieving a balance between the three branches of government, since the country’s Supreme Court in some situations has the power to overturn laws and decisions of the executive and legislative branches.

In July, the country’s parliament (Knesset) adopted one of the key laws as part of the reform – a law to abolish the reasonableness factor. This law removes the ability of courts, including the Supreme Court, to challenge executive decisions deemed to be “beyond the bounds of reason.” The law was adopted with a complete boycott of the opposition and amid mass protests throughout the country. In September, the Supreme Court held hearings on the legality of this law, but the date of the final verdict is still unknown.
Advocates for reform say eliminating the “reasonableness standard” is necessary so that a democratically elected government can implement policies that benefit the majority of citizens. Opponents of the law argue that it would make it more difficult for the Supreme Court to intervene in situations where elected officials make arbitrary, sweeping or corrupt decisions. Opponents of the reform also believe that it will undermine the democratic character of the State of Israel.