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27 March, 2023 | Pragati Singh
Major protests continued in Tel Aviv on Sunday night after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.
After a night of major protests, Israel’s President Isaac Herzog called on members of the ruling coalition to immediately halt their planned overhaul of the country’s judiciary, according to the Jerusalem Post.
“For the sake of the unity of the people of Israel, for the sake of responsibility, I am calling on you to stop legislation immediately. I turn to all the party leaders in the Knesset, coalition and opposition as one, put the citizens of the nation above all else and behave responsibly and bravely without further delay,” Herzog said. Major protests continued in Tel Aviv on Sunday night after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who had expressed his opposition to the legislation in a speech on Saturday night.
Netanyahu met with coalition party leaders on Monday morning to discuss whether or not to move forward with the contentious bill to reform the Judicial Appointments Committee, which was passed in the Knesset Constitution Committee today and is now ready to be brought to the Knesset plenum for its second and third readings, according to the Jerusalem Post.
According to KAN and Channel 12 News, National Security Minister and Otmza Yehudit leader MK Itamar Ben-Gvir threatened today to resign from the government if judicial reform legislation is not passed.
From within the meeting, Ben-Gvir was heard yelling that the government should not back down. If Ben-Gvir leaves the government and the coalition, the coalition will lose its majority, and the government will most likely collapse.
Meanwhile, widespread strikes in Israel have been called to protest judicial reform. The country’s Ben-Gurion Airport has suspended all flights until further notice, and the Workers’ Union has also declared a strike, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Pinhas Idan, Chairman of Israel’s Airport Authority Committee, made the announcement about the grounded flights. In terms of incoming flights, only those that are already in the air will be permitted to land.
After the announcement, passengers continued the check-in process without knowing whether their flights would actually depart. The flight board at the airport showed flights later in the day still intending to depart, but they may not, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Flights will resume normal operations, according to a member of the Workers’ Union, if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stops the judicial reform legislation.
Strikes are also taking place in universities, hospitals, and other industries. Netanyahu is still believed to be in his office, having spent the previous several hours in various “security and legal” consultations with key ministers and advisers, including Justice Minister Yariv Levin.
He’s probably hearing the calls for him to resign, and perhaps even the kids mocking him for “messing with the wrong generation,” according to The Times of Israel. Netanyahu’s administration was sworn in at the end of December. By January 4, the great judicial reform was announced by Justice Minister Yariv Levin.
Everyone knew the opposition would rail and rage; old elites watching their demise would not go quietly into the night. The frustration of three decades of judicial overreach, however, had hardened into a grim determination that would see the coalition through, according to The Times of Israel.
The Israeli Knesset (Parliament) recently proposed a number of judicial reforms. Israelis believe that the new changes will limit the country’s judicial system’s ability to question lawmakers. The reforms give the Knesset the authority to appoint judges at any time. Citizens believe that the new changes are limiting the Israeli judicial system’s power.
Thousands of people are protesting the country’s reforms. Under the current system, the Supreme Court (SC) of Israel has the authority to overturn legislation that violates the country’s fundamental laws.