Israelis Protest Against Proposed Judicial Reforms, Clashes with Police Erupt
On Wednesday, March 1, 2023, Israeli protesters took to the streets of Tel Aviv, blocking roads and major intersections and stopping traffic as they demonstrated against the government's proposed judicial reforms. This was the latest in a series of protests against the legislative package, which seeks to give the Knesset members the power to overrule Supreme Court decisions, remove power and independence from government ministries’ legal advisers, and take away the power of the courts to invalidate “unreasonable” government appointments.
The demonstrations were further intensified when protesters surrounded a hair salon in an upper-class neighborhood where Sara Netanyahu, the Prime Minister's wife, was getting a haircut. A convoy of Israeli border police eventually came to evacuate her from the building.
In response, Israeli police used water cannons and stun grenades against the protesters, some of whom were injured. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to the nation on Wednesday night and compared the protesters to the West Bank settlers who recently rioted in a Palestinian village, burning houses and cars. He said that while the right to protest should be respected, “we cannot accept violence, we cannot accept attacks on police officers, we cannot accept blocking roads, we cannot accept threats toward public figures and their family members.” Opposition leaders called on the protesters to let Sara Netanyahu leave the salon, and even offered to mediate talks between the government and the protesters.
In fact, similar types of protests were seen during the Gaza withdrawal, with attacks on policemen, protests that blocked roads and calls on soldiers to refuse orders to evacuate settlements.
It remains to be seen how the government will respond to the latest demonstrations, but it is clear that Israelis are adamant in their opposition to the proposed judicial reforms and are willing to take to the streets to make their voices heard.
0. “Twenty-one detained during Tel Aviv protest against judicial reforms” JNS.org, 26 Feb. 2023, https://www.jns.org/twenty-one-detained-during-tel-aviv-protest-against-judicial-reforms/
1. “After police clash with Tel Aviv protesters who blocked highway, Netanyahu likens demonstrations to settlers who rioted” JTA News – Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 1 Mar. 2023, https://www.jta.org/2023/03/01/politics/after-police-clash-with-tel-aviv-protesters-who-blocked-highway-netanyahu-likens-demonstrations-to-settlers-who-rioted
2. “Netanyahu's wife besieged on salon trip – World – DAWN.COM” DAWN.com, 3 Mar. 2023, https://www.dawn.com/news/1740088
3. “Netanyahu's Huwara comparison is an attempt to incite against protests” The Jerusalem Post, 2 Mar. 2023, https://www.jpost.com/opinion/article-733248
4. “After Police Clash With Protesters, Netanyahu Likens Demonstrations to Settlers Who Rioted” Jewish Exponent, 2 Mar. 2023, https://www.jewishexponent.com/2023/03/02/after-police-clash-with-protesters-netanyahu-likens-demonstrations-to-settlers-who-rioted