[The above image is shared on Twitter by Ari Ingel Director, Creative Community For Peace and Attorney. Sharing the image he wrote: "The rain, thunder and lightening couldn’t deter nearly a hundred thousand Israelis to take to the streets as Shabbat broke this Saturday night to protest the current governments policies."]
Jerusalem: Tens of thousands of Israelis gathered in different Israeli cities to protest the newly formed Netanyahu government's plan to overhaul the legal system and weaken the Supreme Court dubbed by the government as "judicial system reforms".
Israeli media quoted the police as saying that over 80,000 protesters held the main protest in Tel Aviv. Smaller demonstrations were also held in other cities, in what was called one of the largest protests in the country in recent years, Xinhua news agency reported.
The step, critics say will destroy the country’s democratic system of checks and balances.
The protesters in Tel Aviv held signs such as "Stop the craziness - fight for our country", chanting slogans against Israeli President Isaac Herzog who has so far remained silent on the controversy engulfing the country.
Last week, Israeli Justice Minister Yariv Levin announced a series of "reforms", including giving the parliament the ability to override supreme court rulings with a simple majority.
In addition, politicians will have greater influence in the appointment of supreme court judges and legal advisers to ministries.
Opponents say these reforms will weaken the supreme court and undermine democracy in the country.
The new Israeli government, the most rightist one in history, has promised to have "widespread reforms" in several arenas since being sworn in two weeks ago. The judicial system has been the focal point of these reforms, which have aroused heated debate and strong protests.
From today's protest of 80,000 in Israel. Thank you Uri Schneider for sharing. pic.twitter.com/QITv9eOM1G— Americans for Peace Now (@PeaceNowUS) January 14, 2023
From today's protest of 80,000 in Israel. Thank you Uri Schneider for sharing. pic.twitter.com/QITv9eOM1G
The protest however presented an early challenge to Netanyahu who himself is on trial for corruption charges and his ultranationalist national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, who has ordered police to take tough action if protesters block roads or display Palestinian flags.
Since being indicted in 2019, Netanyahu has said the justice system is biased against him. The legal changes could help Netanyahu evade conviction, or even make his trial disappear entirely.
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