Israel judicial reform: Protesters clash with police, opposition gears to move petition in Supreme Court

The judicial overhaul law was passed in the Parliament on Monday

Israel judicial reform bill Police use water cannon as protesters block Ayalon Highway during a demonstration following a parliament vote on a contested bill that limits Supreme Court powers to void some government decisions | Reuters

Despite efforts made by the government to calm the protesters by offering a dialogue with the opposition over the judicial reform bill, thousands gathered at Knesset clashed with the police.

Jerusalem and Tel Aviv witnessed massive protests and demonstrations by people protesting against the bill, that was passed in the Parliament on Monday.

Police has to use water cannon to disperse the protesters blocking the highways in Tel Aviv. Israel has been witnessing protests over the bill since few months now with the people concerned over democracy.

The opposition repeatedly argued that the change would be a blow the rule of law, and rights of the citizens.

However, Netanyahu had insisted that the law was “necessary” for the government to "carry out policy in line with the decision of the majority of the citizens of the country."

The government coalition argued that the courts were increasingly intervening in political matters and the reforms would pave way for the smooth functioning. “Judiciary was a threat to the democracy,” argued the opposition.

Protesters had marched around 70 km from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and set up a protest camp neat Knesset opposing the bill.

The bill strips Israel's Supreme Court of the power to overturn government actions and appointments it deems "unreasonable", a practice that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing governing coalition says has effectively given the court veto power over the will of the majority, reported the New York Times.

"From today, Israel will be a little more democratic, a little more Jewish, and we will be able to do more in our offices," Itamar BenGvir, the national security minister told reporters.

Meanwhile the Opposition criticised that the move was to obstruct the potential possibility to derail the Netanyahu government.

The reform bill would be curb the rights of non-Jews, expand the power of rabbinical leaders, and also allowing discrimination against LGBTQ people and women, argued the opposition.

Though Netanyahu had said that individual rights will be protected, people don't seem to believe him.

"In front of us lies a clear and immediate danger: continuing oppressive legislation, the appointment of political judges, trampling on the gatekeepers and dismissal of the attorney general" said Benny Gantz, leader of the opposition Blue and Whit party.

The measure won final passage by a vote of 64 to 0 after opposition members in the 120 seat Knesset walked out.

Even over 10,000 military reservists threatened to resign as well that would affect functions of the armed forces. “We have one country, one home, one people,” said Netanyahu in a televised address while appealing to the reservists not to leave the service.

"In the coming days the coalition will approach the opposition with the aim of holding a dialogue between us," the prime minister added.

"We are ready to discuss everything, immediately and during the recess, and if more time is needed, until the end of November,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Israel opposition said that it would petition the Supreme Court to strike down the law, and a rights group said it had already asked the court to step in.


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