“We will appeal to the Supreme Court against this inappropriate law and the undemocratic and evasive manner in which the parliamentary committee debates on constitutional matters were conducted,” he added. The leader of the opposition, former Prime Minister Yair Lapid, announced the fight yesterday after the Knesset vote definitively approved a law that would limit the “reasonableness clause” exercised by Supreme Court justices on the most controversial decisions of prime ministers, cabinets and ministers. The 29-week battle in the streets of Israel that was yesterday could have been another turning point. Not only in clashes between demonstrators and police. The most realistic development is that opponents and supporters of the controversial judicial reform of the Netanyahu government are facing off, even physically. That will happen if the Supreme Court, which is targeted by the far-right religious executive, rejects the new law.
Riot units equipped with water cannons intervened before the vote against the camps in Jan Sacher Park near the Knesset. Six people were arrested, including one of the protest leaders, Moshe Radman. The protests got tougher after the vote: All 64 deputies from the far-right religious majority voted yes, including those who in recent days have been described as “questionable” like Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. The remaining 56 boycotted the vote. Thousands of demonstrators blocked the Begin Ring Road in Jerusalem, which was reopened after extensive police intervention. Other demonstrators gathered on Kaplan Street in Tel Aviv towards Deresh Hashalom, the symbolic places of the protest. The prime minister is a prisoner of the (extreme right) coalition. We invoke “democracy democracy” in our slogans, and other slogans, those who want this coup, want instead theocracy. “We will fight with all the tools at our disposal,” Ofer Kutzner, an activist in the protests that began in January, warned. Hundreds of people also gathered against the “legal revolution” at the Horev crossroads in Haifa and elsewhere. To the discontent of the leaders of the armed forces, other reservists joined thousands of former military personnel – including pilots and airmen – who announced in recent days the suspension of voluntary service and would not respond to the annual call-up. A step into a militarized country like Israel, with compulsory military service for men and women, also has a profound social impact.
Even during yesterday’s demonstrations, the issue of the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territories was not addressed. It is also for this reason that the participation of the large Palestinian minority in the Jewish state in the protests is minimal. Half of the Israelis say they want to defend Israel as a democratic state, but at the same time they hide, and pretend they don’t see, that this “democratic state” has been occupying the lands and lives of millions of Palestinians for 56 years.
Netanyahu has long been said to support agreement with opponents of reform, in contrast to other members of the coalition who oppose “rolling back”. The extremists are led by Justice Minister Yariv Levin, anti-judges bill theorist with the Kohelt Forum and Legislative Committee Chairman Simha Rothman. However, few believe in the seriousness of the prime minister’s intentions and his effective ability to maneuver in the majority. According to Lapid, “Netanyahu is a puppet in the hands of extremists and Jews who have converted to Christianity.” Someone also confirms the health conditions of the Prime Minister, who in recent days fell ill and was found to be suffering from an irregular heartbeat. Others say that Netanyahu is so weak politically that he is unable, if he wanted, to listen to US President Joe Biden urging him not to rush to reform. Be that as it may, in a statement released yesterday evening, Netanyahu defended the just-approved law and contented himself with announcing the opening of a dialogue with the opposition to reach a compromise on the rest of the reform by November.