Protests: Israel: Minister calls for judicial reform to be halted

Israel: Minister calls for halt to judicial reform

With an unusual protest – a stuffed doll on a stretcher – Israeli military reservists demonstrate in Tel Aviv against the judicial reform. photo

© Oded Ballilty/AP/dpa

Mass demonstrations are once again taking place in Israel to demonstrate against the judicial reform. In Tel Aviv there are around 200,000. They receive surprising support from a member of the government.

Israeli Defense Minister Joav Galant called on his own government to stop the controversial judicial reform on Saturday. “We have to stop the process to start a dialogue,” Galant said in a surprisingly scheduled speech.

He spoke of a time frame until Israel’s Independence Day on April 26th. Otherwise, national security would be seriously damaged. He has heard disturbing statements from army commanders in recent weeks. He spoke of “anger, pain and disappointment in an intensity that I have never experienced before”.

In his speech, the defense minister referred to numerous cases of reservists who did not show up for duty in protest against the judicial reform. “We must stop any form of disobeying orders,” he demanded. The mass demonstrations would also have to stop in order to enable a dialogue between opponents and supporters of the reform. “The threats around us are great,” warned Galant. He was referring to the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians and the Iranian nuclear program.

Netanyahu government wants to oust the highest court

The right-wing religious coalition around Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to implement core elements of the reform in the next few days. She accuses the Supreme Court of excessive interference in political decisions. It should therefore be possible in future for Parliament to overrule decisions of the Supreme Court with a simple majority. In addition, the composition of the body for appointing judges is to be changed. Critics see the separation of powers in danger and warn of a state crisis.

Mass protests have been going on for three months. According to media reports, almost 200,000 demonstrators gathered in the coastal metropolis of Tel Aviv on Saturday evening.


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