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Anti-Government Protests

Third ‘Day of Disruption’ in Israel as judicial reform protests continue

With rejection of President Herzog’s proposal, compromise does not seem close

Parents and their children protest against the Israeli government's planned judicial overhaul, in Tel Aviv, March 16, 2023. Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90

A third “Day of Disruption” protest began early this morning in Israel. 

The first of these protests began three weeks ago, when its leaders decided to plan additional mass demonstrations to coincide with a planned legislative push by the coalition. 

The following week, as the coalition’s legislative agenda continued without any slowdowns, the protest leaders called for another protest, this time on a Thursday, designed to disrupt Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Italy. 

That plan was ultimately unsuccessful, as Netanyahu avoided the intentionally-blocked highways by taking a police helicopter to Ben-Gurion International Airport. 

The prime minister’s current trip to Germany was originally planned for today, with protest leaders warning that they would attempt to block his trip for a second time. However, Netanyahu pre-empted the move by unexpectedly leaving on Wednesday evening. 

Protest leaders are calling today’s demonstrations a “Day of Shame in Opposition to Dictatorship.” 

As part of the protests, a group of individuals painted a red line in Jerusalem along a path to the Supreme Court. 

Police later arrested five people in connection with the painting. 

A group of military reservists opposed to the judicial reforms went to the mostly ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Barak and opened a mock army recruiting stand outside the municipality building.

“We have come to pass the burden of recruiting to the ultra-Orthodox population because if there is a dictatorship here, we will have to come here and recruit. We repeat that without democracy, there is no people’s army,” the group stated.

In Israel, the ultra-Orthodox community rarely serves in the Israel Defense Forces, which has been a point of contention with more secular Israelis. 

Another group of IDF reservists, calling themselves “Brothers in Arms," blockaded the entrance to the port of Haifa with a flotilla of private boats. Their signs read: "The Navy will not sail into a dictatorship." 

Students from Tel Aviv University placed razor wire fences at the university entrance.

"We are putting up a barricade to protect freedom of speech and freedom of the press," student protest leaders said. 

In Rehovot, protestors set up sandbags around the magistrate’s court, saying they were protecting the courts from “attacks by criminals trying to carry out a coup.” 

On Wednesday evening, Israeli President Isaac Herzog presented his proposal for a judicial reform compromise. That proposal was quickly rejected by coalition leaders, as being “biased” and “one-sided.” 

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

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