Anti-Overhaul Protestors Turn up the Heat as Turnout reaches 300,0002 min read
On Saturday night, more than 300,000 people rallied across Israel for the 10th week in a row against the radical overhaul plans of the government of the judicial system.
According to organizers, more than half a million people turned out for the demonstrations across the nation. Media estimates show that Tel Aviv alone had about 200,000 protestors rallying.
The coalition is gearing up to move full steam ahead with its plans of overhauling the judiciary from Sunday.
So far, it has rejected pleas from the president and others to scrap its current proposals and negotiate to come up with a compromise that is more widely accepted.
According to protest organizers, if the government does not shelve its current legislation plans, they would ramp up their response.
They disclosed that Thursday would see another day of resistance, just like they had done so in the previous week.
An unprecedented day of disruption and protests had occurred on Thursday in Israel, with the major Ayalon Highway being blocked for over two hours.
Roads leading to the Ben Gurion Airport had been blocked and there had been blockages, rallies, strikes and other disruptive activities all over Israel.
On Saturday, the protest organizers said that they would try to disrupt the planned takeoff of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday to Berlin.
They had made similar efforts to delay his takeoff to Rome in this week, when roads to the airport had been clogged by cars that were driving at a snail’s pace.
The premier had been forced to go to the airport via a chopper. The statement from the organizers said that this week would be a critical one in their struggle to protect democracy in Israel.
They called on Israelis to come out on Thursday to support the Declaration of Independence and to prevent the destruction of democracy.
Hila Gerstel, a retired justice, spoke at the main gathering on Kaplan Street in Tel Aviv outside the offices of the government.
She said that while she supported repairing the judiciary, she could not support its ‘destruction’. Gerstel said that she had served for 24 years in the judicial system.
Therefore, she was aware of its shortcomings and its virtues. She said that she had established the audit commission and had called for reforming the system as well.
But, she said that while there was need for repairs to the system, it did not mean that they should destroy it completely.
Yair Lapid, the leader of the opposition, also spoke in Beersheeba where 10,000 people had turned up for the protests.
He said that the country was facing its biggest historical crisis and other challenges, the government was not interested.
Lapid stated that the only thing that interested the government was destroying Israel’s democracy and people’s unity.
According to police estimates, 200,000 people attended the protests in Tel Aviv and Haifa also saw about 50,000 people turn up and there were tens of thousands more in other cities across Israel.