Anti-government rallies, civil disobedience continue in Israel – Middle East Monitor

Mass demonstrations and civil disobedience actions have continued across Israel against the controversial judicial reform plan and right-wing policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, Anadolu News Agency reports.

Thousands of Israelis joined for the 18th week several rallies across Israel to protest controversial government plans to change the judicial system.

Demonstrators gathered at the protests in Tel Aviv, Haifa, Kfar Saba, and Netanya.

They held pro-democracy banners criticising the far-right politicians in the coalition government.

They marked Thursday protests as “national equality day” in response to the exemption of Ultra-Orthodox Jews from military service and the country’s politics.

Employees of the high-tech sector lined up 2-meter-long dominoes, one of which was about to topple, to suggest the damage caused by the government’s judicial plan to the high-tech sector.

READ: Israel justice minister accuses US of supporting anti-judicial overhaul protests

Inspired by “The Handmaid’s Tale” television series broadcast in the US, hundreds of female demonstrators wore red cloaks and white bonnets to protest the judicial plan and performed their symbolic choreography in front of the Rabbinical Court in Tel Aviv.

Israeli police detained five people for “attempting to enter the Ayalon Highway and block traffic,” according to Daily Times of Israel.

Protests were also held across the country in front of the homes of ministers and lawmakers from coalition partners.

Demonstrations in front of Ben-Gvir’s residence

Demonstrators gathered in front of the far-right of National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir’s home in the illegal Jewish settlement of Kiryat Erba in the Occupied West Bank.

In reference to the increasing number of murders in the country, demonstrators displayed mannequins and red paints on white sheets.

Protesters also raised banners that read: “78 people were killed, there’s a criminal. Where are you now, your turn?”

About 500 demonstrators gathered in front of the presidential residence in West Jerusalem.

Postponed judicial plan

The judicial reform plan, announced by Israeli Minister of Justice, Yariv Levin, on 5 January, is viewed by the opposition as a power grab in favour of the executive authority.

On 27 March, Netanyahu announced a delay in the controversial plan for judicial reform that sparked mass protests nationwide.

Controversy of Haredi military exemption

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men from the Haredi religious group in Israel, who make up 12 per cent of the country’s population, refuse to serve in the army on religious grounds.

The national service in Israel is mandatory for all adult men and women for a period of 24 months.

Haredi Jews, being exempted from military service, receive training in Torah courses, Yeshiva, until the age of 26.

Israeli media reports indicate that ultra-Orthodox parties demanded that the age of exemption from conscription be lowered from 26 to 21.

The Haredi community’s exemption from military service and the state aid they receive are also frequently discussed in mass protests against the controversial judicial plan.

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