Thousands of Israelis opposed to government plans to change the judiciary arrived in Jerusalem on Saturday. The march began on Tuesday in Tel Aviv. The demonstrators plan to gather in front of the parliament building.
A mile-long column of protesters carrying blue and white Israeli flags marched along the main highway to Jerusalem on Saturday in the scorching summer sun, drums and anti-government chants, Reuters reported.
The demonstrators started their march on Tuesday evening. They had to travel about 60 kilometers. At night they camped in tents.
Protesters plan to gather outside parliament ahead of Sunday’s debate and then vote on a key element of the controversial justice reform.
Judicial reform debate
The ruling coalition led by the prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to push through that element of the reform before the summer break of the parliament, starting at the end of July, which would limit the prerogatives of the Supreme Court regarding the so-called rationality standard. Currently, judges can overrule some government decisions they deem “irrational”, i.e. disproportionately focused on political interests without sufficient consideration of the public interest.
The conflict over reform has been sparking w Israel unprecedented wave of protests. In March, after their escalation, Netanyahu stopped work on the reform and began negotiations with the opposition, hosted by President Herzog, but these talks ended in a fiasco in June, after which the ruling coalition resumed legislative work.
The opposition claims that the changes pose a threat to democracy. Netanyahu defends reforms, believing that the judiciary has excessive power.
On Friday, more than 1,100 Israeli air force reservists, including hundreds of pilots, signed a letter announcing that they would end voluntary service in the reserve as a protest against plans to reform the judiciary.
Main photo source: REUTERS