Crime & Justice

Israel’s high-tech sector stages ‘warning’ strike against judicial reforms

Jerusalem, Jan 24 (EFE).- Employees at several Israeli high-tech companies and startups began a one-hour strike on Tuesday to protest the government’s judicial reforms which critics say would undermine the country’s democracy.

The “warning strike” was called for by a committee representing Israel’s private sector amid a wave of demonstrations against the judicial reforms prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hard-line government is looking to implement. The controversial plans include overhauling the country’s judicial system and curbing the power of the Supreme Court.

Several hundred workers also took to the streets of Tel Aviv on Tuesday to reject the right-wing government’s plans.

Several local high-profile tech companies joined the industrial action including Lemonade, Wiz, Redis and Forter.

Small and medium-sized firms were also present at the protest with sector representatives saying employees were concerned about the impact that the reforms could have on the local economy.

Representatives of Israel’s thriving tech sector warned that the country faced a brain drain and that it could end up in a situation similar to that in Hungary or Iran if politicians continued with their plans.

Critics have also voiced fears that the reforms put forth by the far-right and ultra-Orthodox government could prompt a capital flight of foreign investors.

According to official data, around 10% of Israeli employees work in the high-tech sector, which represents 15% of Israel’s gross domestic product, 25% of the total income tax paid in the country and more than 40% of exports.

Tuesday’s walkout comes after a massive rally staged on Saturday where more than 130,000 citizens flooded the streets in several cities and towns to oppose the reforms.

At the heart of the initiative is a provision that would allow a simple majority of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, to annul Supreme Court rulings.

Critics say the implementation of that measure would effectively negate the notions of judicial independence and the separation of powers, especially in the present circumstances, as Netanyahu’s coalition is fully in control of the Knesset.

Some have expressed concern that the government might try to use the mechanism to halt the ongoing trial of Netanyahu on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. EFE


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