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Israeli military reservists refuse service amid protests over judicial overhaul plans

Israeli military reservists refuse service amid protests over judicial overhaul plans
Israel has seen mass protests against government plans for judicial reform

By Abdelraouf Arnaout

JERUSALEM (AA) - A group of Israeli reservist soldiers on Wednesday announced their refusal to volunteer for service in protest of government plans for judicial overhaul.

Israel public broadcaster KAN said 360 active and current reservists from the Israeli Navy sent a letter to Defense Minister Yoav Gallant informing him of their decision not to turn up for duty.

They said in the letter that they cannot volunteer for a country that is not democratic anymore.

Meanwhile, hundreds of military reservists gathered outside the Israel Museum in Tel Aviv as Housing Minister Yitzhak Goldknopf was delivering a speech.

Goldknopf was interrupted by some reservists who managed to enter the hall, KAN reported.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was scheduled to attend the event but canceled his attendance.

There were other protests in different cities in Israel, including in West Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, against the judicial overhaul plans.

Israel has seen mass protests over the past 12 weeks against plans by the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for judicial reform, seen by the opposition as an attempt to reduce the powers of the judicial authority in favor of the executive authority.

Proposed by Justice Minister Yariv Levin, the reform, if enacted, would be the most radical change ever in the system of government in Israel.

The planned change would severely limit the power of the Supreme Court of Justice, give the government the power to choose judges, and end the appointment of legal advisers to ministries by the attorney general.

However, Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, insists that his judicial plan would enhance democracy and would restore the balance between the legislative, executive, and judicial powers.

*Writing by Ahmed Asmar in Ankara

source: News Feed
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