In Israel there was another large rally on Saturday evening against a judicial reform planned by the government. According to media reports, around 100,000 people protested in the coastal city of Tel Aviv against the policies of Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing religious government. Thousands also took to the streets in other cities, often waving the blue and white Israeli flag.
For about four months, there have been huge protests across the country against the controversial project. With the judicial reform, Netanyahu's coalition wants to curtail the influence of the Supreme Court and expand the government's position of power. She accuses the court of excessive interference in political decisions. In the future, Parliament should be able to overrule decisions of the Supreme Court with a simple majority. Critics see the separation of powers in danger and warn of a state crisis if the reform is implemented in this way.
Netanyahu initially suspended the reform plans in March. However, talks between the government and the opposition mediated by President Izchak Herzog have so far failed to reach an agreement. Opponents of the judicial reform therefore fear that the government could make a new push to implement the plans.
However, the government must first approve the budget for the current and the coming year. If this is not achieved by May 29, the parliament would automatically dissolve and a new election would be necessary. Ultra-Orthodox parties are calling for the passage of a law that would de facto exempt men from military service as a condition of their support. This causes great anger in the liberal camp.