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Justice minister whisked away as reform opponents tussle with police

Six people arrested after demonstrators breach the perimeter outside Yariv Levin's home.

Police begin to clear protesters blocking the road in Modi'in. Photo by Yossi Zeliger/TPS.
Police begin to clear protesters blocking the road in Modi'in. Photo by Yossi Zeliger/TPS.

Six people were arrested on Monday after anti-reform protesters blocked a highway and then clashed with police outside the home of Justice Minister Yariv Levin in the central Israeli city of Modi’in.

Dozens of opponents of judicial reform blocked Route 1 between Modi’in and Latrun as they walked slowly along the center of the highway before gathering in front of Levin’s home, one of several demonstrations held outside of the homes of government ministers. They planned to prevent Levin from leaving his house.

Route 1 is the main highway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Anti-reform activists block the highway between Modi’in and Latrun in central Israel, Sept. 11, 2023. Credit: Israel Police.

Clashes broke out when protesters tried to push past the security perimeter erected to keep them the required distance from Levin’s home. Police eventually moved the demonstrators to a safe distance and also cleared the protesters from the road there, allowing traffic to move again.

“The police have now removed a number of protesters in the city of Modi’in to a designated area, on suspicion of violating public order and protest conditions, including not keeping the required distance from the minister’s home in accordance with the ruling [of the court],” the Israel Police said in a statement.

The Brothers in Arms (Ahim Laneshek) protest group said that “Prime-Minister-in-Practice Levin is breaking apart Israeli democracy and tearing the nation apart. The dictatorial law to cancel the reasonableness clause endangers Israel’s position in the world and leaves IDF soldiers exposed to the International [Criminal] Court in The Hague. We will not allow the Kahanist revolution to break apart democracy, and we, unlike [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, are not afraid of the justice minister.”

The protests come a day before the Supreme Court, sitting as the High Court of Justice, is set to hear petitions against the “reasonableness law” the Knesset passed on July 24, which prohibits judges from reviewing government action based on what they think is reasonable, regardless of whether that action violates a law.

It will be the first time in the court’s 75-year history that all 15 justices will hear a case.

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