Massive Protests Sweep Israel Against Proposed Supreme Court Controls
Tens of thousands of Israelis took to the streets across the nation, now marking the 20th week of protests, on Saturday to voice their opposition against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial plans to tighten controls on the Supreme Court.
Government Aims to Restore Balance Between Judiciary and Elected Politicians
The proposed overhaul, currently on hold after witnessing some of the largest street protests in Israel’s history, seeks to grant the government authority to appoint judges to the Supreme Court and provide parliament with the ability to override numerous court rulings. The government argues that activist judges have increasingly encroached upon the powers of the parliament, necessitating this overhaul to restore equilibrium between the judiciary and elected officials.
Concerns Over Diminishing Checks and Balances in a Democratic State
Critics argue that these changes will erode crucial checks and balances that underpin a democratic state, ultimately concentrating unchecked power in the hands of the government. In Tel Aviv, a central highway was adorned with a sea of blue and white Israeli flags, which have come to symbolize the protests. Demonstrators passionately chanted slogans such as “Israel is almost a dictatorship,” while waving a banner that read “stop them.” Sagi Mizrahi, a 40-year-old computer programmer in Tel Aviv, expressed his concerns to Reuters, saying, “It scares me that we are still a few hours away at any given moment from turning from a democracy to a dictatorship. I’m here because of the judicial system and the laws that are still sitting on the table; it’s just scary.”
Symbolic Israeli Flags Blanket Tel Aviv Highway Amid Chants of Democracy
Last Saturday, protests experienced a slight dip in attendance due to the implementation of a truce between Israel and the militant Islamic Jihad group, bringing an end to a five-day escalation that constituted the most intense cross-border fire since the 10-day war in 2021. However, this week’s protests saw renewed vigor, with Hebrew media estimating a turnout of approximately 90,000 to 100,000 participants.
The police force has not yet issued a comment regarding the ongoing protests.
Lower Attendance Last Saturday Due to Israel-Islamic Jihad Truce
“Gradually, myself, my kids, and my grandkids are losing hope of living in a democratic state and enjoying the normal life that every person deserves,” expressed Hava Golan, a 65-year-old biology professor.