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Right-wing movement against judicial overhaul growing

Former minister says significance of protests is that the judicial reforms are tearing Israeli society apart

Right-wing demonstrators protest the Israeli government's planned judicial overhaul, in Jerusalem, Mar. 11, 2023. Sign reads: "Even when you think differently, people, we're brothers." (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israeli protests against the ruling coalition’s judicial overhaul have spread to the political right, as Israelis – both religious and non-religious - have joined protests that, until now, have mostly been associated with the political opposition.

“It has many names: The moderate right, the sane right, the concerned right. Whatever you want to call it, it is making its presence known,” said Yoaz Hendel, a former Cabinet minister and the unofficial leader of the right-wing protests against the judicial overhaul.

Over the past month, there have been three right-wing protests against the judicial overhaul, drawing a total of 12,000 protesters. According to Hendel, however, the significance of the right-wing protests is not in the numbers but in the realization that the overhaul is tearing Israeli society apart.

“An average rally in Kfar Saba has more people than we do. But in right-wing circles, the conversation that we’ve introduced far exceeds the numerical impact. Our call for reconciliation is being heard,” he said in an interview with the Times of Israel on Sunday.

Hendel noted whether supporters of the government agree or do not agree with the judicial overhaul, “All are alarmed by the prospect of an unbridgeable rift in the Jewish people, which is becoming increasingly a reality as the ramming through of this overhaul tears up the fabric of our society.” 

“The overhaul needs to stop and give way to a negotiated reform, perhaps along lines that President Isaac Herzog is expected to propose this week,” he said.

Rabbi Mosheh Lichtenstein, head of the prestigious Har Etzion religious seminary in the Alon Shvut settlement, expressed similar sentiments when he spoke at a right-wing rally in Jerusalem on Saturday night.

“Devising a worthy judiciary is a religious value,” Lichtenstein said. “There’s plenty to reform, plenty to be done, but not hastily, not aggressively, not by tearing up our society without dialogue and attentiveness.”

“The price of achieving it is to tear our society apart. It’s not worth it.” he said.

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

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