Demonstrations: Draft law fuels protests against judicial reform in Israel

Tens of thousands of Israelis protested against the controversial reform plans to weaken the judiciary on Saturday.

Demonstrations: Draft law fuels protests against judicial reform in Israel

Tens of thousands of Israelis protested against the controversial reform plans to weaken the judiciary on Saturday. According to media reports, more than 150,000 people attended a rally in Tel Aviv alone against the plans of Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing religious government. On the extremely muggy evening, many demonstrators also displayed a huge banner that read "SOS". Thousands of people also protested in other cities.

Israel's government wants to get part of the judicial reform on track as quickly as possible. In about a week she wants to pass a law that will take away the power of the Supreme Court to judge decisions of the government or individual ministers as "inappropriate". Earlier this year, the Supreme Court ruled that the appointment of Shas party leader Arie Deri as interior minister was "inappropriate" because of his criminal past. As a result, Netanyahu had to fire his confidant. Observers expect that the coalition wants to reverse this with the new law.

The bill is currently being prepared in the Judiciary Committee for the final vote in Parliament. Critics fear the law could encourage corruption and the arbitrary filling of high-ranking posts. The imminent passage of the law is fueling opposition to the reform.

What is the protest in Israel like?

Hundreds of reservists have already announced that they no longer want to take up their duties should the law come into force. Hundreds more could follow their example. Netanyahu recently tried to calm down. "The country can do without a few squadrons, but it can't do without a government," he said. Experts warn, however, that the refusal of a few hundred reservists could severely limit the operational capability of the Air Force, for example. After numerous reservists failed to show up for duty in March to protest the reform, Netanyahu temporarily suspended the plans.

More than a thousand doctors also threatened to walk out. They fear that the judicial reform will have negative effects on the country's economy, democracy and security, and thus also on the health system.

The government plans divide society. Proponents complain that the judges have too much influence on political decisions. Opponents, on the other hand, see the separation of powers in danger, and some even warn of the creeping introduction of a dictatorship. According to the latest surveys by the Israeli broadcaster "Channel 12", 67 percent of those surveyed fear that a civil war could break out in the country.

How should things continue in the coming week?

The next rallies are already planned for Tuesday. On a "Resistance Day," among other things, the demonstrators want to block roads across the country again.

A few hours before the demonstrations began on Saturday evening, Prime Minister Netanyahu was taken to the emergency room of a hospital near Tel Aviv. The clinic cited dehydration as the reason. A heart monitor was also implanted in the 73-year-old to routinely monitor his heart. According to the media, he was released on Sunday.

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