Demonstrators took to the streets Saturday in Tel Aviv to protest Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans to overhaul the judiciary.
Protesters also gathered outside Netanyahu’s home in Jerusalem, and others demonstrated in Haifa, according to CBS News. Proposed plans by Netanyahu’s right-wing government would allow the parliament to more easily overturn Supreme Court rulings and provide politicians more influence over the appointment of judges, the BBC reported.
Tens of thousands of Israelis came out in the heavy rain today to protest the threat they say the new far-right and ultra-religious government poses to their rights and their democracy. pic.twitter.com/VyhRLPdqG2
— Haley Ott (@haleyjoelleott) January 14, 2023
Critics claim the judicial overhaul represents a threat both to democracy and minority rights, according to CBS. Some fear the government will legislate in favor of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, in violation of international law and without the Supreme Court’s judicial check, according to the BBC. (RELATED: ‘Walk Away’: Israel Is Trying To Tank The Iran Nuclear Deal)
The 73-year-old leader also faces charges of corruption, leading some to believe the government might throw out Netanyahu’s ongoing criminal trial, the BBC noted. The nation’s chief justice called the overhaul an “unbridled attack on the justice system” and claimed the proposals are “designed to force a fatal blow on the independence of the judicial system,” CNN quoted.
Netanyahu, whose campaign centered on a promise to overhaul the judicial system, dismissed allegations, according to ABC. “We will complete legislating the reforms in a way that will correct what needs correcting, will totally protect individual rights and will restore the public’s faith in the justice system that so much requires this reform,” Netanyahu announced Sunday.
Protests across three cities Saturday took place peacefully, with local media citing no major reports of violence or injuries, CBS News reported.