Opponents of judicial overhaul in Israel vow to continue protests

Opponents of judicial overhaul in Israel vow to continue protests

Israelis decry parliament's approval of controversial bill seeking cut in Supreme Court's power

By Enes Canli

JERUSALEM (AA) – Israeli citizens opposed to the government’s controversial plan to reform the judiciary vowed that they would keep the protests going despite the parliament’s approval of the bill seeking a cut in the Supreme Court's power.

On Monday, the Knesset, or Israeli parliament, approved a bill sought by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to restrict the Supreme Court's power to overrule the government’s actions.

The contentious judicial overhaul plan triggered mass protests, some of the biggest in Israel's history, that have entered the 29th week.

The government says the package is meant to restore power to elected officials, but critics argue it is a power grab by Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption.

Evitar Rubin, one of the protesters, told Anadolu that mere "yelling in the street" is not sufficient and called for more acts of civil disobedience to "disturb the government."

Rubin refused to serve in the military due to the occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

“There is a group in Israel that believes that democratic and liberal government should be provided only to the Jews. These people don't care what is done to Palestinians,” he said.

He also drew attention to politicians in the coalition government, namely Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and Minister for National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir, blaming them for the ongoing situation in Israel.

“There has never been democracy in Israel. Neither when ethnic cleansing was carried out in 1948, nor when (Palestinian land) was occupied in 1967, nor is it possible now when Jewish settlers are carrying out mass attacks on Palestinian territories,” Rubin asserted. “Nobody here cares about that. This is so hypocritical."


- State of army

Oren Schvil, one of the founders of the Comrades in Arms group, composed of reservists opposing the government's judicial overhaul, criticized Defense Minister Yoav Gallant for supporting the plan and labeled him as a "coward."

“We expected Gallant, who is responsible for Israel's security and defense, to be more courageous. We wished he would come out and say, 'That's enough.' He doesn't deserve his post,” Schvil said.

Regarding army personnel opposing the judicial overhaul, Schvil said that the Chief of General Staff Herzi Halevi needs to inform the government and the public about the state of his army.

“The number of reservists who have announced that they will resign from the army after the law is approved by the Parliament is increasing,” he said.


- Snap polls

Despite Monday’s bill approval, social worker Michel Shalev affirmed that the protests would continue until the Supreme Court's authority is restored.

"If the government thinks that citizens will now remain silent, we will show that they are wrong. We will remain on the streets until the Supreme Court regains power. Judges need to be free to make decisions in court," she said.

Shalev's husband, Israeli doctor Amit Shalev, shared similar sentiments, stating that the protests should persist until the government falls and new elections are held.

Shalev hoped some coalition Cabinet members would listen to the public's concerns, leading to the government’s ouster and snap elections.

*Writing by Mahmoud Barakat

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