Opponents of judicial reform tried to block Route 4, east of Tel Aviv, on Monday, ahead of the “Day of Disruption” planned across the country on Tuesday.
The incident took place at the Geha Interchange on the border between Petah Tikva and Bnei Brak and involved around 10 “anarchists” who tried to close the highway with fences, flares and concrete barriers.
Video shows frustrated motorists thwarting the lawbreakers and clearing a path for a bus and other vehicles that were being blocked by the fencing.
Organizers plan mass demonstrations for Tuesday in the run-up to the second reading in the Knesset plenum this week of a bill seeking to annul the court’s “reasonableness” criteria for overturning legislation and governmental decisions.
While protesters have blocked major highways and interchanges for months and disrupted traffic at Ben-Gurion Airport several times, on Tuesday they will also try to close down train stations.
Meanwhile, the Tel Aviv municipality on Monday announced the renaming of a section of Kaplan Street as “Democracy Square” in honor of the weekly protests there. The area has been the central meeting point for the demonstrations, which have often spilled over into illegally blocking the nearby Ayalon Highway (Route 20).
“In the 75th year of the State of Israel, it has become clear, completely contrary to everything we thought, that its democracy is not taken for granted,” Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai wrote on Twitter.
“And we are here to remind everyone, again and again, that Israel has no right to exist as a country, as a society, as an idea, without democracy.”
On Sunday, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert asked the international community to boycott the Israeli government over its effort to reform the judiciary.
“I call on the United States to make a new assessment of relations with Israel for all that this implies. I call on world leaders not to meet with [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu,” Olmert said.
Netanyahu on Monday addressed the danger to the country posed by IDF reservists who threaten to refuse to serve if the government advances judicial reform legislation.
“It is impossible for there to be a group within the army that threatens the elected government [and says] if you don’t do as we wish, we will turn off the switch on security,” Netanyahu said at the weekly Cabinet meeting.