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Tens of thousands in Israel protest for and against reform

Multitudes voice their opinions about proposed changes to the legal system.

Supporters of the government's judicial reform program protest in Jerusalem, April 15, 2023. Photo by Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90.
Supporters of the government's judicial reform program protest in Jerusalem, April 15, 2023. Photo by Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90.

Protests against judicial reform entered their 15th week as thousands of demonstrators gathered in Tel Aviv on Saturday night. However, in a new ripple, thousands of heretofore quiescent supporters of reform also attended protests across the country.

Matan Peleg, chairman of Im Tirtzu, a Zionist NGO, said” “We thank the tens of thousands who came out to the streets to express their support for the judicial reform. We won’t let the anarchists harm the voter’s decision. There is a duty to pass the reform so that there will be democracy here.”

Members of government joined the crowd in the coastal city of Netanya, including National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir of the Otzma Yehudit Party and Likud members of Knesset Tali Gottlieb, Nissim Vaturi, Ariel Kallner, Sasson Guetta and Avichay Buaron.

“After 75 years, the time has come that the nationalist camp will be a true partner in running the state, and that starts with real involvement in the Supreme Court. The judicial reform will pass,” said Buaron.

Pro-reform protesters also gathered in front of the President’s Residence in Jerusalem. Among the signs at the protest: “Honorable President, you don’t have the mandate to cancel our vote.”

President Isaac Herzog has been attempting to mediate a compromise between the sides, which have agreed to talks during a break between Knesset sessions. The Knesset’s next session will start on April 30.

Anti-reform protests in Tel Aviv took place as usual. Smaller protests against reform took place in Haifa and outside the home of Justice Minister Yariv Levin in Modi’in.

Credit ratings agency Moody’s lowered its outlook for Israel’s A1 credit rating from “positive” to “stable” on Friday, citing “a deterioration” in governance due to the upheaval over judicial reform.

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