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Tens of thousands of protesters marching from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem arrive ahead of vote on Reasonableness Standard Bill

Hundreds of thousands demonstrated across the country, protest events planned across Jerusalem in showdown over judicial reforms

Thousands of anti-overhaul activists marching towards Jerusalem on Highway 1 as part of protests against the government's judicial overhaul, seen at the entrance to the city, July 22, 2023. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Thousands of Israeli protestors marched into Jerusalem on Saturday evening, ahead of the Sunday vote on Reasonableness Standard Bill.

The four-day march began on Wednesday night from the main protest hub on Kaplan Street in Tel Aviv, which had grown by tens of thousands by the time it reached the Israeli Knesset, blocking road traffic on Highway 1 into the city for several hours.

Protesters could be seen carrying the blue-and-white Israeli flags and protest banners, while chanting anti-judicial reform chants, throughout the march under the hot Israeli sun.

The crowd of protesters halted their march temporarily on Friday evening near the town of Shoresh, where they shared a traditional Friday evening Sabbath meal together.

On Saturday morning, the group was back at it again after finishing a breakfast donated by protest supporters, marching on foot for the final 16-kilometer journey (approximately 9.5 miles) to the nation's capital.

The number of demonstrators swelled on Saturday, as additional protesters joined the march on the last day, with some even driving their vehicles alongside the protesters en route. Hundreds of stopped cars lined the side of Highway 1 from Shoresh to Mevasseret Tzion into Jerusalem.

Outside of the Knesset, where protesters gathered after reaching Jerusalem, a large sign read: “Declaration of Volunteer Service Suspension for IDF Reservists.”

This statement was a reference to a letter signed by many protesters accusing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of “crushing those things shared by Israeli society" and "tearing the people apart, disintegrating the IDF and inflicting fatal blows on Israel's security.”

Protest leaders have called on military reservists to refuse to serve if the Reasonableness Standard Bill passes.

Hundreds of reservists have already announced their refusal to serve in the past weeks, announcing “with a broken heart that they are suspending their volunteer service.”

Dozens of tents were set up in Gan Sacher Park in the heart of Jerusalem, where many of the marchers spent the night ahead of protest events scheduled for Sunday morning.

Besides the protest events in Jerusalem, over 150 additional protest events are scheduled to take place across the country Sunday, as the Knesset begins deliberations on the Reasonableness Standard Bill.

The Knesset is expected to hear final arguments and objections to the bill on Sunday, with final voting expected to take place Monday.

While Prime Minister Netanyahu has continued to express a willingness to reach a compromise, he also accused opposition leaders of not negotiating in good faith.

Israel's local Kan media reported Netanyahu said, “...either we reach a compromise by tomorrow or the bill will pass.”

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

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