Tens of thousands of Israelis demonstrated for the fifth straight week against the Zionist government’s push to radically shakeup the judicial system.
Along with the main protests in Tel Aviv, smaller demonstrations were held in Haifa, Beersheba, Al-Quds (Jerusalem), Kfar Saba and Modi’in.
Protests were also held on Saturday in Paris outside of the hotel that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife were staying in, and in London outside of the Israeli embassy.
Opposition leader MK Yair Lapid attended the demonstration in Haifa.
“These people in Haifa, Beersheba, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, came to say that they do not want to live in a country in which people who work are less important than people who don’t, and people who serve in the army are less important than those who do, and people who do not abide by the law are more important than people who do,” Lapid said.
“These people are trying to save their country, and we come to protest with them because we will not let this happen. We will fight in the streets, we will fight in the Knesset, we will fight in the courts. We will save our country because we are not willing to live in a non-democratic state,” Lapid said.
In Tel Aviv, Mayor Ron Huldai told the crowd that “if words end, the actions will begin.”
“We are fighting for our home… a Zionist, Jewish, and democratic state. We fight for our basic beliefs,” he said
“This is an opportunity to reach broad agreements, and if the words end, the actions will begin. We will not stop at public squares, we will not be indifferent, we will not react with acceptance,” Huldai added.
Former Israel Police commissioner Roni Alsheikh was the central speaker at Tel Aviv protest. Alsheikh led the police during its investigation and eventual recommendation to indict Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of trust, and has been ostracized by many of Netanyahu’s supporters since.
Alsheikh stressed in his speech that he was fighting the reform precisely because he was religious and wore a skullcap.
He called on his fellow religious Zionists and rabbis, who told him in private that they opposed the reforms even though they voted for some of the coalition parties, to speak out, despite the attacks that they would have to endure.
Some 40,000 Israelis attended the rallies in Tel Aviv, the Haaretz Israeli daily reported, adding that at least 10,000 others rallied in Haifa, 2,000 in Al-Quds, 2,000 in Ra’anana, and another 2,000 in Kfar Saba.
The protests came after President Isaac Herzog offered a compromise whereby the legislative proceedings in the Knesset will be frozen for two weeks, during which the Israeli president will host representatives of the supporters and detractors of the reform in an attempt to reach a compromise.
Source: Israeli media