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Israel: Over 80,000 people turn out for protests against Netanyahu govt

News Agencies | Updated on: 15 January 2023, 11:07 IST

People in their thousands took to the streets in Tel Aviv on Saturday night against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the changes his government has proposed to the Israeli judicial system, CNN reported.

Attendees carried placards comparing Netanyahu to Russian President Vladimir Putin and claiming that Israel was resembling semi-democratic Hungary and theocratic Iran.

The protesters thronged central Tel Aviv's HaBima square and surrounded streets despite heavy rains, CNN reported, citing the local Israeli media. Several people also took to the streets in Jerusalem for similar protests.

The proposed amendments, according to Esther Hayut, president of Israel's Supreme Court, are "an uncontrolled attack on the legal system" and "intended to force a deadly blow on the independence of the judicial system."

Notably, the reforms introduced last week by Israeli Justice Minister Yariv Levin would aim to reform Supreme Court nominees through a review committee and give parliament the authority to reject Supreme Court verdicts.

Protesters told CNN that they came out of concern for Israel's future and to send a message to Netanyahu that the public would not tolerate what they regard as the deconstruction of Israeli democracy.

Recently, Itamar Ben-Gvir, Israel's new far-right Minister of National Security ordered the police to remove Palestinian flags from public areas because they constitute 'terrorism', Al Jazeera reported. Following a significant anti-government demonstration in Tel Aviv where some protesters carried Palestinian flags, Ben-Gvir issued his orders.

Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu was sworn in as PM on December 29, hoping to deliver political stability after five general elections since 2019.

Netanyahu, 73, took the oath after Israel's parliament, Knesset, passed a vote of confidence in his new government. Out of the 120 members, 63 voted in favour of the new government, The Times of Israel had reported earlier.

This is the sixth government led by Netanyahu, who remains the country's longest-serving PM. The new government took shape following an alliance of the Likud Party with far-right and ultra-Orthodox parties.

The government would be Netanyahu and the "country's most hardline to date", the report had claimed.


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First published: 15 January 2023, 11:07 IST