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Estimated 600,000 supporters of judicial reform gather outside Knesset

Anti-government protesters were arrested in Tel Aviv after Israel’s economy minister Nir Barkat and his security team were attacked.

Israelis attend a rally in support of the government's planned judicial overhaul, outside of the Knesset on April 27, 2023. Photo by Flash90.
Israelis attend a rally in support of the government's planned judicial overhaul, outside of the Knesset on April 27, 2023. Photo by Flash90.

Two suspects were arrested on Thursday in Tel Aviv, as anti-government protesters attacked Israel’s economy minister Nir Barkat. Meanwhile, organizers estimated 600,000 advocates of judicial reform gathered in Jerusalem.

“March of the Million” participants, some hitting snags when bus drivers canceled their transportation to the rally at the last minute, reportedly arrived on as many as 1,000 buses. Other media outlets estimated the crowds were larger than 200,000.

“I thank the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who came to Jerusalem tonight to support our government,” tweeted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Your passion and patriotism moves me deeply.”

Justice Minister Yariv Levin and Knesset member Simcha Rothman, chairman of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, both addressed the gathering.

“Show me one democracy where legal advisers make decisions instead of the government,” said Levin.

On Twitter, Rothman posted in Hebrew: “The nation of Israel lives! Thanks for coming. The people are sovereign, and the people demand judicial reform.” He concluded by quoting Isaiah 1:27, “Zion will be redeemed with justice.”

Following the attack in Tel Aviv, which sent a police officer to the hospital, Barkat wished the officer a speedy recovery and stated that there was no excuse for violence, which undermines the foundation of democracy.

“Everyone has the right to demonstrate, but no one has the right to act violently,” he said.

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