Protests were held across Israel on Saturday night for the 27th consecutive weekend against the government’s plan to overhaul the judiciary with legislation that would roll back some Supreme Court powers and give the coalition decisive sway in selecting judges, according to The Times of Israel.
According to overhead imagery provided by Crowd Solutions, over 140,000 people congregated in Tel Aviv, with tens of thousands more in other locations. The protests came only days before the Knesset, the national legislature, holds its first reading on a bill to reduce judicial oversight of the executive and parliamentary branches.
Protest leaders have pledged to intensify their opposition to the government’s renewed efforts, hoping for a show of force as they express growing outrage over the coalition’s plan to pass a bill removing courts’ ability to rule on the “reasonableness” of governmental decisions in its first Knesset reading.
World-renowned Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari declared at the major demonstration in Tel Aviv, “The time to stop the Netanyahu government is now.”
“We are allowed to and must be angry for what the Netanyahu government is doing to the Israeli dream,” he said, and if the government does not stop, it “will learn what happens when we are angry.”
Matti Friedman, a Canadian-born Israeli author and journalist, warned at a big demonstration outside the President’s Residence in Jerusalem that Israel could become a failed state like Lebanon, ripped apart by corruption and internal discord. According to
The Times of Israel, he vowed that this would not happen.
Police stressed ahead of the events that demonstrators would exercise their right to demonstrate, but they would not accept riots, destruction to infrastructure or official symbols, or harm to police officers.