Israel: new demonstrations against controversial reform of judicial system

Several thousand Israelis went down to the streets of Tel Aviv on Saturday to protest against the reform wanted by the Prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu. Demonstrations also take place in other Israeli cities.

MO12345lemonde with AFP

After nine weeks, the mobilization does not weaken. Several thousand Israelis went down to the streets of Tel Aviv on Saturday evening March 4, to protest against the very controversial reform of the judicial system wanted by the Prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu, and which they deem undemocratic.

The right and extreme right coalition set up in December by Benyamin Netanyahu is trying to pass on legislation which would give the government a greater influence on the selection of judges and would limit the prerogatives of the Supreme Court, causing , since the announcement of the text in early January, massive demonstrations.

“Democracy, democracy!” Or “Shame!” Chanted the demonstrators in the center of Tel Aviv, in the middle of a cloud of Israeli flags. Demonstrations also take place in other Israeli cities.

On Wednesday, clashes opposed demonstrators and the police, which used water cannons and deafening grenades to disperse the crowd. Eleven injured demonstrators were taken care of at the Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, said the spokesperson for this establishment at the France-Presse agency (AFP).

The threatened democratic character

According to its detractors, the text, aimed at reducing the influence of the judiciary for the benefit of political power, threatens the democratic character of the State of Israel. But Benyamin Netanyahu and his Minister of Justice, Yariv Levin, consider him necessary to restore a balanced balance of power between elected officials and the Supreme Court, that the Prime Minister and his allies deem politicized.

A banner representing the Israeli Prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu, during a demonstration against the projects of his new government to redesign the judicial system, In Tel Aviv, Israel, March 4, 2023. Ohad Zwigenberg/Ap

“I like my country, I am Zionist and I want Israel to remain a Jewish and democratic country”, AFP Revital Lévi, 52, said in Tel Aviv. “It takes a strong, autonomous judicial system and a separation of powers”, to “guarantee democracy”, she says. “I don’t miss any demonstrations,” says Nimrod Mimran, 24, QA engineer. “I feel the duty to fight,” he adds saying “fear for his rights”.

Two flagship provisions of the reform – the first which modifies the process of appointment of judges and the second which intends to prevent the Supreme Court from invalidating any new fundamental law voted by the Parliament – have already been adopted by deputies at first reading.

Another highly contested provision of the reform, the introduction of a “derogatory” clause allowing Parliament to cancel by simple majority certain decisions of the Supreme Court, must be voted at first reading on a later date.

The demonstrations, which generally denounce government policy, do not seem to influence the determination of Benyamin Netanyahu and its majority. General with the drafting of the “world” discover section>

the opposition, including his centrist chief Yaïr Lapid, has repeatedly accused the Prime Minister of wanting to serve his personal interests with this reform. Benyamin Netanyahu being himself tried to corruption in several cases, his contemptors believe that in the event of adoption of the reform, he could use it to break a possible judgment coming to condemn it.

/Media reports cited above.