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Anti-government and judicial reform protesters take to streets for 32nd week

Demonstrations continue across the Jewish state despite Knesset being on summer break

Anti-overhaul activists protest the government's judicial reforms, in Tel Aviv, August 12, 2023. (Photo: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

For the 32nd week since the judicial overhaul plans were announced, demonstrators gathered in Tel Aviv on Saturday night to protest the coalition government and its proposal to reform Israel's judicial structure.

As in previous protests, the main activities took place in Kaplan Square in Tel Aviv, before spilling out into surrounding streets.

This week, protesters also marched to the home of Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana, where one protester was arrested on suspicion of assaulting police officers. Protesters also briefly blocked a nearby road until they were removed by Israel Police forces.

IDF Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Amiram Levin addressed the protesters and called on Likud party members to “be brave” and stand against the judicial reforms.

He accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of giving the nation to criminals, while condemning several non-Likud ministers of racism and being power-hungry, among other things.

“Bibi wants to give the keys to the country to a group of awful ministers, some of whom are convicted criminals and draft dodgers, to ministers who encourage massacring Palestinians subject to our rule, to a racist minister who loots the state budget and blocks funds for Arabs, just because they are Arabs. To a justice minister who wants one branch of government and no independent judiciary,” Levin said.

He also claimed coalition ministers “don’t know what democracy is because they and their aides grew up in a land [the territories of Judea and Samaria] that doesn’t have one.”

Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria, internationally known as the West Bank, are not technically subject to Israeli law but governed by Israeli military rule.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid attended the protest rally in Tel Aviv on Saturday and invited others to join in a message to social media.

“We come to Kaplan today to say that a government that doesn’t obey the court, that doesn’t obey the law, is an illegal government.”

Protest leaders have threatened to paralyze the country if the coalition government does not abide by a High Court ruling to either overturn the Reasonableness Standard Law or the Incapacitation Law.

“If this happens, the campaign headquarters, in cooperation with all the organizations, is preparing for a complete paralysis of the state," according to a statement from protest organizations.

Netanyahu has refused to say whether he will abide by the decision of the High Court, although some of his ministers have reassured that the government will respect a High Court ruling. Several coalition members have said they will not respect a decision to strike down either law.

Apart from the Tel Aviv city center, there were additional protests in other cities across the Jewish state, such as Jerusalem, Haifa, Beersheva and other locations.

Israel Police reported that three Palestinians were arrested at the protest in Tel Aviv. The three had entered the country illegally from Aqraba, near Nablus in the West Bank.

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

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