Israelis continue protests against new government

Tens of thousands of Israelis have gathered in Tel Aviv to protest Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government’s plans to transform the judicial system, moves that opponents say threaten the country’s democratic foundations.

Israeli media, citing police, said around 100,000 people had protested.

The protest followed another demonstration last week, also drawing tens of thousands in an early challenge to Mr Netanyahu and his ultra-nationalist and ultra-Orthodox government – the most right-wing in Israeli history.

The government says a power imbalance has given judges and government legal advisers too much leverage over legislation and governance.

Mr Netanyahu has pledged to push ahead with the changes despite opposition.

Demonstrators filled central streets in the coastal metropolis, raising Israeli flags and banners reading “The Supreme Court” and “Israel, we have a problem.”

“All generations are affected. This is no joke,” said Lior Student, a protester.

“This is a complete redefinition of democracy.”

Other protests took place in the cities of Jerusalem, Haifa and Beersheba.

Adding to the protests, pressure has mounted on Mr Netanyahu’s government after the country’s attorney general called on Mr Netanyahu to sack a key cabinet ally after the Supreme Court ruled that he was removed from a government post over a tax offenses conviction was excluded.

Although Netanyahu was expected to heed the court ruling, it only deepened the rift in the country over the judicial system and the power of the courts.

Earlier this week, Mr Netanyahu, who is on trial over corruption, vowed to go ahead with plans to overhaul the judiciary despite the protests.

Opponents say the changes could help Mr Netanyahu evade conviction in his corruption trial or see the trial disappear altogether.

One protester said she believed the judicial changes were meant to protect Mr Netanyahu: “The goal is to save just one person and only one – that’s Mr Netanyahu, before his trial, and that’s why I’m here.”

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/world-news/israelis-press-on-with-protests-against-new-government-42304734.html Israelis continue protests against new government

Linh

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