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Hundreds protest judicial reform at justice minister’s home

The IDF says it will discipline reservists who refuse to show up for duty amid anti-government demonstrations.

Israelis protest against the government's judicial reform program outside the home of Justice Minister Yariv Levin in Modi'in, June 27, 2023. Photo by Jonathan Shaul/Flash90.
Israelis protest against the government's judicial reform program outside the home of Justice Minister Yariv Levin in Modi'in, June 27, 2023. Photo by Jonathan Shaul/Flash90.

Hundreds of opponents of the government’s judicial reform program demonstrated in front of Justice Minister Yariv Levin’s home in the city of Modi’in on Tuesday.

The protesters blocked the road near the entrance to the minister’s house with barbed wire and burning tires. They waved signs reading, “Bitter Enemy of Israel,” a Hebrew-language play on the minister’s first name, and a large object shaped like a hotdog with “Dictatorship sausage from the Levin deli” written on it.

Clashes broke out between demonstrators and the police, who arrested six of them. Protest organizers called on the demonstrators to protest at the local police station against what they termed “violent arrests.”

Protesters said police used tear gas.

The police said in a statement: “This is a serious incident of a violation of public order, endangering local residents by burning tires in the heart of a residential neighborhood, blocking traffic lanes and trampling on Supreme Court orders regarding protests in front of the home of an elected official, and therefore six suspects were detained for questioning.”

Levin posted a lengthy response on his Facebook page, sharply criticizing the police for slow response to the protest, which began at 5:30 a.m. and wasn’t stopped until after 8 o’clock.

Levin also castigated Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara and her deputy, Gil Lemon, for their ongoing opposition to the judicial reform plan that he has played a major part in formulating.

“[They] systematically distribute documents and opinions in writing and orally, without even updating me, to summarize the policies I lead. They did it again just yesterday,” the minister wrote.

At the same time, he said the threats, incitement “and growing violence against those who ‘dare’ fulfill their promise to vote and support reform, none of these has yet earned a single word of public address by the attorney general and her staff.”

The “most outrageous thing is the selective enforcement,” Levin said.

He said protesters against the 2015 disengagement from the Gaza Strip were arrested in the thousands. Ethiopian Israeli protesters in 2019 were treated with brutality. But because today’s protesters are on the side of the judicial system, “no indictments have been filed against them to date and they have been given the green light,” he said.

The minister said that he wouldn’t be deterred and that he would continue the mission “that the public bestowed on me with great loyalty and faith. The reform must pass.”

IDF to discipline reservists who refuse to serve

Israeli army officials said on Tuesday that reservists who refuse to show up for duty to protest the government’s judicial reform initiative will be disciplined, while also clarifying that no action would be taken against those who merely threaten to not show up for duty.

The IDF stated its position after 300 doctors in the active reserves sent a letter on Monday to senior security officials threatening not to report for duty should the coalition continue its judicial reform legislative push “unilaterally and without negotiations.”

Former MK calls for ‘nonviolent uprising’

Maj. Gen. (res.) Yair Golan, a former MK and deputy economy minister for the far-left Meretz Party and a former IDF deputy chief of staff, drew criticism from the ruling coalition on Tuesday after calling for a “nonviolent uprising” against the government over its judicial reform push.

“In the face of the attempts to destroy democracy, we will mount an unequivocal civil resistance, and if we have to have a large-scale and nonviolent uprising, that is what we will do,” Golan told Kan News.

He also said that demonstrators will have “no choice but to break the law.”

The Likud Party slammed Golan’s comments as “incitement to rebellion” and called for him to be investigated.

“Those who violate the law and call to break the law must pay a price. Otherwise the rule of law has no meaning,” the party said.

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