protests in Israel
Tel Aviv According to a media report, Israel’s government is advising on a possible halt to the project because of the bitter protest against its judicial reform. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed this with several ministers in his cabinet from Sunday evening until late into the night, the Jerusalem Post reported. Justice Minister Jariv Levin, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, Education Minister Joav Kisch, and Strategic Minister Ron Dermer took part in the crisis talks in his office.
Citing sources within Netanyahu’s Likud party, the newspaper went on to say that Dermer and Kish had tried to persuade the prime minister to suspend the reform. Attorney General Levin, on the other hand, insisted, threatening to resign, that the bill be passed against all odds. According to the Ynet news platform, the coalition leaders of the right-wing religious government are to meet in Netanyahu’s office on Monday morning to discuss how to proceed.
There have been violent protests for months against the reform, which aims to curtail the influence of the Supreme Court and strengthen the government’s position of power at the expense of the independent judiciary. The dispute reached a temporary high point over the weekend with the dismissal of Defense Minister Joav Galant. The Likud politician had publicly criticized Netanyahu’s plans and called on the government to engage in dialogue with its critics. Tens of thousands of people flocked to the streets of the coastal city of Tel Aviv on Sunday evening to protest Galant’s dismissal, and there were clashes with the police.
Several ministers, who are said not to have attended the crisis meeting on Monday night, announced their support for a temporary halt to the legislative process should Netanyahu decide to do so. The goal of the reform project is correct, but the way to get there needs to be reconsidered and “not worth a civil war,” the Jerusalem Post quoted Economics Minister Nir Barkat as saying. Culture Minister Miki Sohar said: “The reform of the judicial system is necessary and important, but when the house is on fire, you don’t ask who is right, you pour water into the flames and save the residents.”