Conflicts & War

Opponents of Israel’s Netanyahu protest outside his home

Jerusalem, Feb 9 (EFE).- Critics of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to limit the authority of Israel’s Supreme Court protested Thursday night near his private residence in Jerusalem.

Israeli daily Haaretz put the number of demonstrators at around 200.

Carrying torches, Israeli flags and signs bearing slogans in Hebrew and English, participants chanted slogans while remaining several hundred meters from the home to comply with a court injunction.

Some protesters sat down on the street near a busy intersection.

Hours earlier, Israeli military reservists opposed to the proposed judicial overhaul blocked a main highway in Tel Aviv, Israel’s largest city.

The initiative, presented during the first week of January by Justice Minister Yariv Levin, would allow a simple majority of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, to annul Supreme Court rulings, and would eliminate the tribunal’s power to bar individuals with criminal records from holding high office.

The high court used that authority last month to force the resignation of a Cabinet minister with past convictions for financial crimes.

Netanyahu’s coalition, the most right-wing government in Israel’s history, holds an absolute majority in the Knesset.

At present, the Supreme Court can strike down legislation that contravenes Basic Laws, measures that have the status of constitutional articles.

Detractors, including current and former senior jurists, business leaders and even past advisers to Netanyahu, see the proposal as an attack on the separation of powers and on the fundamental tenets of democracy.

Some also suggest that Netanyahu, now in his third stint as prime minister, hopes to use the expanded powers over the judiciary to put a stop to his own trial on corruption charges.

The first protest in Tel Aviv against the Levin plan, on Jan. 7, involved around 12,000 people, while 80,000 participated on Jan. 14 and turnout swelled to more than 120,000 the following week. EFE /dr

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