Tens Of Thousands Demonstrate In Tel Aviv Against Judicial Reforms : ‘Poisonous To Democracy’

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JERUSALEM (VINnews) — Tens of thousands of demonstrators thronged to the Habima square in Tel Aviv on Saturday night. In driving rain, the protesters spoke out against the judicial reforms being proposed by the current government.

A large number of past and present politicians are participating in the demonstration, including Benny Gantz and Gadi Eizenkot, as well as former premier Ehud Barak, former defense minister Moshe Yaalon and former justice minister Tzipi Livni. MKs from Yesh Atid and the National Camp, Avoda and Meretz were also at the demonstration.

 

A number of other demonstrations are taking place at the same time in various places around Israel. Opposite the president’s residence in Jerusalem hundreds of protesters have gathered as well as opposite the house of Justice Minister Yariv Levin in Modiin.

Palestinian flags at Tel Aviv demonstration (Yair Levy)

There were numerous Israeli flags and umbrellas at the demonstration, although Palestinian flags were unfurled by many demonstrators. Police did not intervene despite statements that such flags would be removed. Tel Aviv police superintendent Ami Eshed said that police’s goal was to allow free public protest and only intervene if there is violence or disturbances.

Former Supreme Court Justice Ayala Prokazia spoke at the demonstration and decried what she termed the “new definition of democracy- not moral democracy but democracy which is dependent on the “will of the voter” irrespective of all other basic democratic values.

Prokazia added that “we cannot as a society accept the destruction of the basic values of our system. We will fight in every legal way to block the deterioration in the relations between the government and the citizens. We will fight for the moral complexion of our country. We are at a critical juncture in Israel’s moral future.”

Avi Himi, chair of the Israel Bar Association, hailed the diversity of anti-government protesters at Habima Square in Tel Aviv, united in one goal, “the struggle for Israel’s democracy.”

Himi warned that the destruction of democracies begins with the disbandment of the judiciary and claimed that the government’s reforms are “poisonous” to democracy. He compared Israel’s situation to Poland, Hungary, Turkey, and even said it could become like Iran. Himi rejected government claims that the current judicial system doesn’t allow them to govern, challenging them to show court decisions which prevent fighting poverty, the cost of living and defending Israel’s borders.

 

 


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