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Protesters block roads across Israel during another ‘Day of Disruption,’ at least 20 arrested

As protesters attempt to disrupt train operation, some counter-protesters also take to streets

Israelis protest the government's planned judicial overhaul, in Tel Aviv, July 18, 2023. (Photo: Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

A fresh round of anti-judicial reform protests hit Israel on Tuesday morning as the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee continued to debate the Reasonableness Standard Bill in a lengthy session that continued through the night.

The committee decided to vote on more than 27,000 reservations against the controversial bill in batches of 20. Some experts expect the voting session to last until Wednesday, after which the bill will advance to the Knesset for second and third readings.

If the bill passes the Knesset plenum vote, it will become law.

In an attempt to stop the bill from advancing, protest leaders called for another “Day of Disruption," blocking roads at dozens of sites across the country and attempting to shut down five central train stations: Haifa Centerl HaShmona, Binyamina, Herzliya, Tel Aviv HaShalom and Lod.

Israeli police announced they would not allow train service to be stopped and threatened to arrest anyone attempting to do so.

At the time of publication, at least 20 protesters had been arrested across the country, with at least one woman taken for medical treatment due to injuries.

One of the suspects was arrested for assaulting a protester, another for disorderly conduct and assaulting a police officer. However, most were arrested by the Israel Police for disturbing the peace.

Israelis block the entrance to military headquarters in Tel Aviv as they protest the government's planned judicial overhaul, July 18, 2023. (Photo: Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Protest leaders continue to call for more gatherings this evening, beginning at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. local time.

The Brothers in Arms protest group led a demonstration in front of the Israeli Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv, calling on Defense Minister Yoav Gallant to take action to stop the legislation.

“The People's Army and Israel's security are in real danger,” the organization stated. “If this dictatorial legislation is passed, the People's Army will not last. We are calling on Defense Minister Gallant: You have proven in the past that Israel's security is the most important thing to you, stop the dictatorial legislation now.”

Another protest group from the "Building an Alternative" women’s protest group, demonstrated in front of rabbinical courts across the country to stand against the lack of equality found in many of its religious rulings.

This particular group of women has become an icon in the protest movement, wearing costumes from the book “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

At the same time, a small group of protesters in favor of the judicial reforms demonstrated in front of Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara's home. Police arrived immediately and warned the group they would begin to arrest them if they did not leave, which may lend credibility to recent claims by some coalition members of unequal treatment and enforcement of protests.

Anti-judicial reform protesters frequently demonstrate outside the residences of coalition members, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Justice Minister Yariv Levin, Gallant and even Israeli President Isaac Herzog. Police allegedly did not threaten those protesters with arrest, but allowed them to demonstrate.

On Monday night, a small group of some 50 people demonstrated outside the home of the defense minister, encouraging him not to give in to the anti-reform protesters.

“Gallant Gallant, wake up, don't give in to the refusers,” the protesters chanted.

Protest leaders warn they will increase their activities until the legislation is stopped.

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

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