Again protests in Israel: Herzog calls for the judicial reform to be stopped

Status: 03/27/2023 09:17 am

“For the sake of the unity of the people”: Israel’s President Herzog has called on Prime Minister Netanyahu to stop the controversial judicial reform. According to media reports, Netanyahu is planning a speech to the nation in the morning.

Israel’s President Izchak Herzog has called for the controversial judicial reform to be halted in the face of the massive protests. “For the sake of the unity of the Israeli people, for the sake of responsibility, I call on you to stop legislation immediately,” Herzog said to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and all coalition members.

“People are gripped by deep fear.” Security, the economy, society – everything is threatened. “The eyes of all the people of Israel are on you”.

Secretary of Defense Galant dismissed

In the evening, Netanyahu fired his defense minister and party colleague Joav Galant. He had publicly criticized the controversial plans and called on the government to engage in dialogue. There have been violent protests for months against the reform, which aims to curtail the influence of the Supreme Court and strengthen the government’s position of power at the expense of the independent judiciary.

Galant called on the government to engage in dialogue with critics on Saturday evening. He warned that national security, and particularly the army’s operational capability, was at stake. For weeks there has been talk of growing resentment in the military, and numerous reservists did not show up for duty in protest against the reform.

In Tel Aviv, protesters blocked a street and lit fires.


Tens of thousands protest

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of the coastal city of Tel Aviv on Sunday evening to protest Galant’s dismissal. They blocked the central road to Jerusalem and set fire to tires. The police used cavalry squadrons and water cannons against the crowd, from which stones were thrown at the emergency services.

Angry people broke through a roadblock next to Netanyahu’s home in Jerusalem, and the head of the domestic intelligence agency Shin Bet went there that night. Universities announced a temporary freeze on teaching in protest at Galant’s dismissal and reform plans.

Several mayors went on hunger strike, demanding an immediate containment of the national crisis. The trade union confederation (Histadrut) has scheduled a press conference for today, apparently to call for a general strike.

Media: deliberations at night

In the morning the protests in front of the Parliament in Jerusalem continued. In view of the precarious situation, Netanyahu held an emergency meeting at night to decide how to proceed, as several media reported. He is said to have discussed a possible suspension of the reform project with coalition politicians. According to unconfirmed media reports, Netanyahu plans to address the nation in the morning. His office initially did not confirm this.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu has scheduled a press conference”, Christian Limpert, ARD Tel Aviv, on the current situation in Israel

Morning magazine, March 27, 2023

US is “deeply concerned”

The plans also drew international criticism. The US government, the most important ally, expressed “deeply concerned”. In view of the planned “fundamental changes to a democratic system,” the White House urged the Israeli leadership to find a compromise as soon as possible.

The Israeli Consul General in New York, Asaf Zamir, resigned in protest at Galant’s dismissal. This was “a dangerous decision,” Zamir said on Twitter. The process has made him realize that he “can no longer represent this government”.

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