Protests in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem as Coalition Advances Bills
On Wednesday, protests took place in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem against the government’s plans of judicial overhaul with ministers being targeted, as the coalition pushed forward with its controversial legislation.
As the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee of the Knesset was discussing the bill related to judicial appointments, entrances had to be blocked by the police.
There was a protest convoy circling the area that was honking horns in protest of the legislation being discussed.
Transportation Minister Miri Regev and Housing and Construction Minister Yitzhak Goldknopf were scheduled to attend an Israel Lands Authority conference in Tel Aviv near the Eretz Israel Museum.
Therefore, military reservist protestors opted to gather at a junction close to the museum. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was also supposed to attend the conference, but his appearance was canceled.
No clear reason was given for the cancellation. Protestors were led by Dan Harel, the former chief of staff of the IDF.
They marched to the museum via the Namir thoroughfare in protest. Some of the protestors were able to break into the hall where the Housing and Construction Minister was speaking.
The protestors interrupted his speech until they were removed by security. Harel had also served as the Defense Ministry’s former director.
Speaking about the recent ‘softened’ proposal that the coalition had put forward, Harel asserted that it was just a mask that they were using for covering their real goal of controlling the Supreme Court.
He said that Israel was on the verge of a dictatorship because the coalition would be able to approve every legislation they want, thanks to this ‘softened’ proposal.
As far as the refusal of reservists to show up for duty, Harel said that people had just refused to do so because they do not want to be in a dictatorship.
Reservists are a vital part of the routine activities of the army and are part of the top units. An increasing number of them have warned that they will not be part of an undemocratic Israel.
Miki Zohar, the Culture and Sports Minister, appeared at a cinema event in the city of Kfar Saba at the Oshiland Mall, which also drew dozens of protestors.
The minister had to cancel his attendance and security escorted him from the shopping center. The demonstrations happened as the Knesset pushed forward with approving one bill.
If the legislation in question is approved in its existing form, it would give the coalition control over appointments of most judges.
On Wednesday, the committee is expected to advance the bill and the final voting is expected to take place next week before the Knesset goes on a break for a month due to Passover.
With the government moving forward with its legislation, protest organizers said that they were planning yet another day of disruption on Thursday.
The plans include blocking public transportation access and traffic disruption around Ben Gurion Airport since the Prime Minister is scheduled to fly off to London.