May 23, 2024

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In Israel, new demonstrations against controversial reform of the judiciary

In Israel, new demonstrations against controversial reform of the judiciary

After nine weeks, mobilization does not weaken. Several thousand Israelis demonstrated in the streets of Tel Aviv on the evening of Saturday, March 4, against a controversial reform of the judicial system favored by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and which they consider undemocratic.

The right-wing and far-right coalition formed by Binyamin Netanyahu in December is seeking to pass legislation that would give the government more influence in selecting judges and limit the Supreme Court’s prerogatives. Speech in early January, massive demonstrations.

“Democracy, democracy! » Or ” Shame ! », demonstrators chanted amid a cloud of Israeli flags in downtown Tel Aviv. Demonstrations are also taking place in other Israeli cities.

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Clashes in Tel Aviv on Wednesday pitted protesters against police who used water cannons and stun grenades to disperse crowds. Eleven injured demonstrators were treated at the Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, a spokesman for the facility told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The democratic character is under threat

According to its opponents, the text, which aims to reduce the influence of the judiciary in favor of political power, threatens the democratic nature of the State of Israel. But Benjamin Netanyahu and his Justice Minister Yariv Levin see it as necessary to restore the balance of power between elected officials and the Supreme Court, which the prime minister and his allies see as politicized.

A banner depicting Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during a protest against the new government's plans to overhaul the justice system in Tel Aviv, Israel on March 4, 2023.

“I love my country, I am a Zionist, I want Israel to be a Jewish and democratic state”AFP Revital Lévi, 52, who lives in Tel Aviv, said. “We need a strong, autonomous judiciary and separation of powers”to “Ensure Democracy”she says. “I don’t miss any demonstrations”says Nimrod Mimran, 24, a QA engineer. “I feel duty bound to fight”He adds “Fear for their rights”.

Two key provisions of the reform – the first overhauling the process for appointing judges and the second aimed at invalidating any new basic law voted by parliament – had already been accepted by delegates in the first lecture.

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Another highly contested provision of the reform was the introduction of a provision “disgraceful” Allowing Parliament to overrule certain decisions of the Supreme Court by a simple majority, to be voted on in first reading at a later date.

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The demonstrations, which generally condemn government policy, do not appear to affect the resolve of Benjamin Netanyahu and his majority.

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The opposition, including its centrist leader Yair Lapid, has repeatedly accused the prime minister of seeking to serve his personal interests through the reform. Benjamin Netanyahu has been tried for corruption in several cases, and his critics believe that if he adopts the reform, it could be used to overturn a possible verdict against him.

The world with AFP