ISRAEL: Israelis thronged the nation’s streets on Saturday in the tenth week of nationwide protests against the hard-right government’s proposals to limit the Supreme Court’s authority, which critics see as a danger to judicial independence.
Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, who says that his objective is to balance out branches of administration, holds a parliamentary majority with his religious-nationalist coalition allies.
As the reforms approach ratification, the demonstrations have grown more violent. The shekel dropped. Some reservists in the military have threatened to disobey summons orders. President Isaac Herzog has pleaded for the reorganization to be delayed and for talks to be conducted instead.
Record numbers of Israeli demonstrators turns out in cities
Record numbers of demonstrators turned out in cities such as Haifa, while about 200,000 are believed to have taken to the streets in Tel Aviv. Most of the demonstrations were peaceful, but some protesters were hurt and arrested when police moved in to stop people from blocking traffic.
Inspector-General Yaacov Shabtai, who is in charge of the national police, made a rare televised statement in which he changed his mind about plans to change who is in charge of the police in Tel Aviv. Some people were worried that this would mean that protests would be dealt with more harshly.
Shabtai said that the now-postponed reassignment was part of a planned rotation. He also said that police officers will continue to protect legal protests and “will not give in to any political pressure on the matter.”
Netanyahu, who was re-elected to office for a sixth term as prime minister in late December, says that the protests were directed at toppling him. He is facing prosecution in three corruption cases, and he refutes all wrongdoing.
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