Israeli Protests Ramp up as Government Rejects Compromise on Judicial Reform
by i24 News
i24 News – Israeli protesters pressed ahead on Thursday with demonstrations against a judicial overhaul by the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after the rightist leader rejected a compromise proposal intended to defuse the crisis.
Despite efforts by the country’s figurehead president, Isaac Herzog, to pave a way out of the political crisis, the sides appeared to be further digging in on Thursday. Netanyahu and his hard-right allies were intent on steamrolling ahead with their original plan despite weeks of mass protests and widespread opposition from broad swaths of Israeli society and dire warnings by Herzog that Israel was barreling toward an “abyss.”
Should the initial proposal pass, it would mean greater government sway in selecting judges and limit the power of the High Court to strike down legislation. One major point of contention in the planned overhaul is an amendment to the way in which judges are selected.
Protesters were kicking off a third midweek “Day of Disruption” since the crisis began, with roads set to close to make way for rallies. In the capital of Jerusalem, protesters drew a red streak on the streets leading to the country’s High Court and a small flotilla of boats was blocking the shipping lane off the coast of the northern city of Haifa.
Last week, Netanyahu had to be airlifted to the country’s main international airport for an overseas state visit after protesters blocked the road leading there, brandishing signs that read “don’t come back!” Tens of thousands have been attending weekly protests across the country each Saturday night.