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33rd week of judicial reform protests begin with moment of silence for terror victims

Protest leaders decided to focus on women’s issues, inviting only female speakers

Anti-overhaul activists protest against the government's judicial overhaul, in Tel Aviv, Aug. 19, 2023. (Photo: Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

The 33rd weekly protest against the coalition government and its judicial reforms on Saturday evening began with a moment of silence for two victims of the terror shooting in Huwara earlier that day. 

Around 100,000 people were estimated to have attended the protests, according to Israel's Channel 13 news.

The protests, which focused on women’s rights and discrimination against women, included only female speakers and participants, including Eurovision winner Netta Barzilai, who sang the Israeli national anthem, HaTikva, the Hope. 

Protest leaders pointed to several recent incidents of alleged discrimination against women or girls in the public space, saying there was a government strategy “to promote gender segregation and harm women’s equality.” 

“My parents come here every week, and there was no way I would leave them alone here. We hear every day about exclusion and violence against women, and we will not be trampled on,” Barzilai told the demonstrators. 

Some of the speakers criticized calls by opposition Knesset members to form a unity government in an attempt to halt further judicial reforms. 

Last week, Knesset Member Matan Kahana of the National Unity party, led by Benny Gantz, called for a unity government agreement, requiring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to agree to retire from politics in two years. 

Kahana’s call has not been accepted by Netanyahu or his Likud party. 

Yesh Atid Knesset Member Elazar Stern also suggested the possibility of a unity government, as part of a deal to freeze further judicial reforms. 

Former IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz criticized the calls for a unity government, saying Netanyahu is untrustworthy. 

“We are at the center of an unprecedented crisis of distrust between the majority of Israeli citizens and the leadership that governs us. Benjamin Netanyahu is not the solution, he is the problem,” Halutz stated. 

Despite suggestions to create a unity government by one of his own party members, Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid told protesters near Haifa that he would not agree to join a unity government with Netanyahu. 

He also condemned coalition members for their criticism of IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi. 

“This government attacked the chief of staff because it hates the truth,” Lapid said. “The problem isn’t the readiness of the IDF. The problem is with Netanyahu.” 

As in previous weeks, the main protest event was in Tel Aviv, with smaller protests being held in Jerusalem, Haifa and Beersheva. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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