Israel faced another day of protests on Saturday aimed at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan for a judicial overhaul in the country that resulted in about 160,000 demonstrators in Tel Aviv alone.
Tens of thousands of other protests broke out across the country. The Times of Israel reported that organizers put the total at up to 400,000 across Israel. Organizers announced that Thursday will be the next “day of disruptions” around the country.
“We want to fight for what is right. And there should be a constitution… and a stable judicial system that needs some fixing, but not as impulsive as this crazy right-winger who kidnapped democracy, wants it to be,” one demonstrator told Euronews.
The protest on Saturday night followed one that broke out on Wednesday that resulted in police firing stun grenades at demonstrators who blocked a major highway in the city.
TRENDPOST: Protesters from Saturday’s rally claimed Israeli security officers were aggressive during the rally.
One protester called Zeev told Israeli Channel 13 TV, “This is terrible violence, no one touched the policemen. We were in a protest of civil people. We didn’t expect such a thing. We are here to support democracy.”
Itamar Ben-Gvir, the far-right national security minister, praised police and said they have been patient after having stones hurled at them.
Reuters noted that protests have been taking place over the past nine weeks and are growing more intense with more clashes.
“There’s a great danger that Israel will turn into a dictatorship. We came here to demonstrate over and over again until we win,” Ophir Kubitsky, 68, a school teacher, told the news agency.
Weakening the Court
The protesters say the reforms sought by the government aim to weaken the Supreme Court by allowing the Knesset the ability to overturn rulings with a simple majority.
Esther Hayat, the Supreme Court’s top judge, called the proposal an “unbridled attack on the justice system” and said the proposal would give the government a “blank check” to pass laws.
She said the proposals, if passed, would mean Israel’s 75th anniversary of independence would be “remembered as the year in which the country’s democratic identity was dealt a fatal blow.”
Netanyahu’s hardline government has been critical of the protesters, which was mocked during Saturday’s rally.
The Times of Israel noted that Limor Livnat, the former Likud minister, jokingly greeted protesters with the names they’ve been called by opponents: “Good evening ‘anarchists,’ good evening ‘terrorists‘—good evening patriots.”
TRENDPOST: We have noted that Netanyahu is on trial for corruption charges so it makes sense that he wants the country’s legal system to be overhauled and put in the hands of the Knesset. The embattled prime minister has not hidden the fact that judicial reform is a top agenda item.
His detractors say his attempt at reform can essentially lead to his case completely disappearing. Netanyahu called these claims nonsense and said the reforms that are in place will actually bolster the country’s democracy by limiting the reach of advocate judges. (See “LARGE-SCALE PROTESTS BREAK OUT IN ISRAEL OVER NETANYAHU’S ‘REFORM’ PLANS” 17 Jan 2023, “PROTESTS BREAK OUT IN ISRAEL OVER NETANYAHU’S NEW COALITION GOVERNMENT” 20 Dec 2022, and “ISRAEL ON BRINK OF CIVIL WAR” 14 Feb 2023.)
Netanyahu has indicated that he will not let up on his push, and said judicial reform was one of the initiatives that helped him get elected. Jettisoning the proposal now would betray their trust.
On Monday, dozens of Israeli air force reservists announced that they will miss a training session to protest these judicial changes, Al Jazeera reported. The report said the 37 pilots and navigators will miss the drill on Wednesday and instead “devote our time to dialogue and reflection for the sake of democracy and national unity.”
The BBC called the pilots’ decision to protest the move an unprecedented protest against the government. The report said it was an “unparalleled political move by some of Israel’s most strategically important reservists.”
One pilot told Ynet that the group was “signaling that we won’t be prepared to serve a dictatorial regime.”
TREND FORECAST: As the protests continue, dissent escalates. We forecast that, as Gerald Celente has long noted, “When all else fails they take you to war.” Therefore, to divert the population’s attention, the Netanyahu government will ramp up its wars with Iran, Palestine, and Syria. Despite its atrocities, the United States will defend them by repeating the time-worn line of bullshit that “Israel has the right to defend itself.”