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Netanyahu building support for pro-reform mega-rally

The “March of the Million” will be held outside the Knesset.

Israelis show support for judicial reform in Tel Aviv, March 30, 2023. Photo by Erik Marmor/Flash90.
Israelis show support for judicial reform in Tel Aviv, March 30, 2023. Photo by Erik Marmor/Flash90.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is working behind the scenes to drum up backing for a “March of the Million” planned for Thursday in support of his government’s judicial reform initiative.

Netanyahu has met with stakeholders to ensure that they have the necessary resources to get people out onto the streets, and is urging haredi members of the governing coalition to call on their constituents to participate. The prime minister reportedly views the prospective rally as an “expression of public legitimacy” for the governing coalition and, by extension, for its reform program.

Netanyahu is not, however, expected to attend the rally, with officials citing security concerns.

Hundreds of Israelis joined a “freedom march” last week that concluded with a demonstration outside the Tel Aviv home of former Supreme Court President Aharon Barak.

Protesters held placards calling the court a “dictatorship” and declaring it is “harming national security.”

Barak, who served as Supreme Court president between 1995 and 2006, is widely considered responsible for the “Constitutional Revolution” that the current government seeks to moderate with its reform initiative.

Reformers will gather for the “March of the Million” outside the Knesset in Jerusalem, in a show of strength and support for the government’s effort to restore checks and balances on the court.

Organizers said in a statement that the event will be “the largest demonstration in [the state’s] history,” and issued a call telling “government ministers and Knesset members: You have received a mandate to correct the injustice. We will not be second-class citizens!”

Justice Minister Yariv Levin urged proponents “to stand between the Knesset and the Supreme Court and say with unprecedented determination: The people demand legal reform. The mandate received by the right-wing government must be realized.”

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