Distrust of Netanyahu: judicial reform suspended, protest continues
distrust of Netanyahu
Judicial reform suspended, protest continues
3/28/2023 6:03 am
Hundreds of thousands of Israelis have been mobilizing for months against a planned restructuring of the judiciary. The more concrete the plans become, the broader the resistance becomes. Now the government is making some concessions to the opponents of the project and is suspending the project for at least a few weeks. But that’s not enough for the protest movement.
Despite the announced halt to the controversial judicial reform in Israel, opponents of the government plans want to continue their protest. “We will not stop the demonstrations until the judicial coup is completely stopped,” said the resistance organizers on the street. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement only serves to dupe the population “in order to weaken the protest and then establish a dictatorship.” Several rallies are planned for this Tuesday.
In the evening, after massive protests and several crisis talks, Netanyahu announced that he would suspend the implementation of the controversial plans for a few weeks in order to “make room for dialogue” and “avoid a civil war”. For around three months, tens of thousands, sometimes several hundred thousand people, have been taking to the streets against the plans of his right-wing religious government to weaken the independent judiciary. The protest continued across the country into the night. There were clashes with the police in several cities. In the coastal city of Tel Aviv, demonstrators temporarily blocked an important road connecting to Jerusalem. According to media reports, there were two dozen arrests nationwide by the evening. In some cases, the police used stun grenades and water cannons to crack down on the demonstrators.
Opposition skeptical about dialogue
The first talks between Netanyahu and the opposition took place in the evening. As several media reported, the head of government first met with former Secretary of Defense Benny Gantz. Accordingly, he asked Netanyahu to leave his successor Joav Galant in office. This is “essential for national security” and could help calm the situation. Netanyahu said he had dismissed Galant on Sunday after the defense minister publicly called for the reform to be halted. According to media reports, however, no official letter of dismissal has yet been sent to him.
There is disagreement in the opposition over whether to open a dialogue with Netanyahu’s government. Opposition leader Jair Lapid was basically willing to talk. “If the legislation is truly and completely stopped, we are ready to start a real dialogue at the President’s residence,” Lapid said. Nonetheless, he cast doubt on the seriousness of Netanyahu’s offer.
The leader of the opposition Labor Party, Meirav Michaeli, saw little reason for a compromise along the lines of the prime minister. “The fight and the protest must be continued and intensified,” she stressed. Netanyahu only wanted to buy time with his statements, but ultimately wanted to implement exactly what so many people in the country were afraid of.
General strike ended – normal operations expected
After large parts of economic life came to a standstill on Monday due to a general strike in protest against the reform, a return to normal operations was expected on Tuesday. The Israeli Airport Authority announced that normal take-offs and landings would resume at Ben Gurion Airport. The workers’ union took part in a nationwide strike on Monday, which led to several flight cancellations. Numerous workers in other sectors had also resigned from their jobs after being called by the umbrella organization of trade unions.