Jerusalem, Jan 8 (EFE).- Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has slammed the demonstrations that gripped downtown Tel Aviv as a “wild incitement” after thousands took to the streets on Saturday night to protest his far-right government.
“I saw the difficult pictures last night at the left demonstration that compared the Minister of Justice to the leaders of the Nazis. The PLO flags at the demonstration. The signs that read ‘Free Palestine from the Zionist colonial rule’,” Netanyahu said in a statement published on Twitter on Sunday.
“This is wild incitement that went uncondemned by the opposition or the mainstream media. I demand that everyone stop this immediately,” the recently elected Israeli PM added.
More than 20,000 people, according to organizers, turned out Saturday in Tel Aviv to oppose the plans of Israel’s new right-wing government to limit the authority of the Supreme Court and give politicians the biggest say in choosing judges.
The proposal was announced Wednesday by Yariv Levin, justice minister in the government of Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving premier, who returned to power last week after spending 18 months on the outside looking in.
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.
Levin also wants to revamp the Judicial Designation Committee by filling most of the seats with lawmakers from the ruling coalition. Until now, the panel has been a non-partisan body comprising attorneys.
Among the groups behind Saturday’s march was the Black Flag movement, which describes the proposed judicial reforms as a “coup d’etat” that “will encounter a nation of Israel determined to guard our democracy.”
Posters of Levin dressed as a Nazi were seen at the protest.
The Standing Together grassroots movement also called for a protest to promote equality and peace between Arabs and Jews in the region.
Netanyahu, who governed Israel from 1996-1999 and again from 2009-2021, now heads the most right-wing government in the country’s history.
The prime minister has rejected critics who say the judicial reform undermines democracy as “baseless.”
“The truth is that the balance between the branches in the governmental system has been violated over the last two decades, and even more so in recent years,” a statement released by Netanyahu’s office read. EFE