Rally in Tel Aviv against Government Reforms Muted after Terror Attacks
There was a rally held in Tel Aviv for the fourth week straight against the far-reaching judicial overhaul reforms put forward by the new coalition.
However, this time around, the rally had a more subdued atmosphere than the previous weeks after there was a terror shooting on Friday in Jerusalem that killed seven people.
The capital of Israel also saw another attack happen earlier on Saturday.
Like the past weeks, the protests were held by anti-government demonstrators at the Habima Square and Kaplan Street in Tel Aviv.
Similar demonstrations were also held in Haifa, Jerusalem, Beersheba and a number of other smaller cities in the country.
Tens of thousands of people attended the demonstrations, but there was a variation in estimates. Some reports said that more than 60,000 people attended the rallies, but this was less than the 100,000 that had attended last week.
There have been weekly protests after a controversial plan was unveiled by Justice Minister Yariv Levin for overhauling the judiciary, which would significantly restrict the High Court of Justice’s authority.
The reforms are meant to give the government control over the selection of judges, eliminate the need for ministry legal advisers chosen by the attorney general and the authority of altering the High Court’s decision with a Knesset majority.
The demonstration this Saturday had been a rather muted one, as it started with a minute of silence after the deadly terrorist attack that occurred in the Neve Ya’akov neighborhood in Jerusalem.
Seven people died in the attack and three others were wounded. There was also a separate shooting incident that took place on Saturday near Jerusalem’s Old City, which wounded two people.
According to organizers, they had contemplated whether holding the protests was appropriate in the aftermath of the incidents.
However, they added that they had decided to go ahead because the coalition has asserted that they do not have any intention of stopping the overhaul legislation from moving forward in the coming week.
The Constitution, Law and Justice Committee of the Knesset wants to see the legislation passed into law as swiftly as possible.
This week, the organizers opted to eliminate the carnival-like elements from the anti-government protest because of the attacks.
Therefore, the only music in the rally on Kaplan Street came from the chanting via a megaphone and the steady throb of drumbeat.
Yair Lapid, the leader of the opposition, had attended the rally in Tel Aviv the previous week, but decided to attend the Jerusalem one this week.
He lit a candle at the Jerusalem rally in memory of the seven victims of the terror attack. He said that he had come to Jerusalem to show that they are one and were standing against terror the same way.
He added that the government needs to decide if they want to fight against terror or against Israeli democracy and if it wants to unite or break the people.
He also sent his condolences to the victims’ families and lauded the security forces that were still working.