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‘Days of disruption’ resume as reform opponents take to streets

Protesters try to block junctions in Tel Aviv and other parts of the country.

Israelis protest against judicial reform across from the President's Residence in Jerusalem, May 4, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
Israelis protest against judicial reform across from the President's Residence in Jerusalem, May 4, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

Anti-judicial reform activists restarted their “days of disruption” campaign on Thursday to coincide with this week’s start of the Knesset’s summer session.

Protesters attempted to block several junctions in Tel Aviv and other parts of the country. Dozens demonstrated outside the President’s Residence in the capital sporting red ribbons to signify they were drawing a red line.

They also protested at the homes of Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir.

Protests sometimes drifted from the main theme. The demonstration at Ben-Gvir’s home, which included a pile of red-stained manikins, centered around violence in the Arab sector and against women, blaming him for not doing enough to counter the attacks.

Similarly, in Bnei Brak, an ultra-Orthodox city adjacent to Tel Aviv, protesters set up improvised “recruitment offices” that were meant to demonstrate that haredim aren’t bearing their fair share of the country’s military burden.

While the Saturday night demonstrations continued even during the Knesset break, protesters had refrained from “days of disruption” on weekdays for about two months, ever since talks began at the President’s Residence in an effort to reach a compromise on judicial reform.

Those talks appear to be deadlocked.

National Unity Party Chairman Benny Gantz of the opposition reported on Monday that talks to reach a compromise on judicial reform were not advancing.

“Unfortunately, although the talks at the President’s Residence are conducted in a respectful atmosphere, they are not making progress on any of the issues, especially regarding the Judicial Selection Committee,” Gantz said.

On Sunday, Likud Party officials said that progress in negotiations wouldn’t be possible as long as the Yesh Atid Party participated as it was trying to torpedo the talks.

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