Israelis take to the streets again over legal reform

Thousands of people demonstrated Thursday in Tel Aviv and across Israel against the government’s planned judicial overhaul, despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu putting the controversial reforms on ice a month ago.

Opponents of the ambitious legislation, which seeks to give elected officials greater power over the judiciary, have kept up demonstrations in the commercial hub and across the country since the plan was presented in January.

Netanyahu’s right-wing administration argues the proposals are necessary to rebalance power between the branches of government, while critics say they represent a threat to democracy.

The rallies on Thursday were the first major ones since parliament officially opened its summer session earlier this week following a short recess.

In Tel Aviv, protesters marched wearing the red tunic and white cap from the dystopian novel “The Handmaid’s Tale”, an AFP journalist said. They also protested the high cost of living and other issues.

Central traffic arteries and highways in Tel Aviv were blocked.

Demonstrations were also held outside the president’s residence in Jerusalem and outside the homes of ministers and a chief rabbi in Bnei Brak, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish suburb of Tel Aviv.

Protests have continued even as Netanyahu on March 27 announced a “pause” to allow for talks with the opposition.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog has for a month been hosting talks to seek a compromise.

On Thursday, the presidency said the sides had met for yet another round of negotiations on a variety of issues.

“Talks are expected to continue out of full commitment to the attempt to reach broad understandings that will prevent the continued disputes and crisis,” a statement from Herzog’s office said.

Source link