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Thousands-strong protests held for 21st week against Netanyahu’s far-right cabinet

Posted On: 28-05-2023 | Politics , Israeli news
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Tel Aviv / PNN / 

For the 21st week in a row, tens of thousands have swarmed the streets in several cities throughout the occupied Palestinian territories in protest at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's far-right cabinet and its extremist policies.

The crowds thronged the streets of Tel Aviv and other cities, including Haifa and Beersheba, as well as dozens of other locations across the occupied territories on Saturday.

The new protests came only days after the Knesset approved the regime's annual budget. Opposition figures have slammed Netanyahu's proposed budget as "outrageous," saying "it gives certain sectors perks and doesn't take the general population into consideration."

The rallies have been occurring every week since January, when Netanyahu announced his intention to push through with the so-called overhaul plan.

The changes seek to enfeeble the regime's Supreme Court in the face of politicians, by stripping the court of the power to strike down the latter's decisions. They also seek to give the Israeli cabinet more say in the process of selecting the court's judges.

Netanyahu's far-right cabinet accuses the court of wielding too much power and claims that the changes are needed to strike a balance between the judiciary and politicians

Opponents say the overhaul threatens to usher in a "dictatorship," while its proponents allege that the changes are needed to redress decades of, what they call, overreach by the judiciary.

Faced with overwhelming public pressure, including the biggest protests ever seen across the occupied territories as well as several strikes, Netanyahu announced a pause in the scheme on March 27 to supposedly enable talks on the reforms.

The Israeli President Isaac Herzog, whose role is largely ceremonial, has been mediating between the cabinet and the opposition to find a compromise.

"I praise the president ... but factually, there hasn't been progress," Gadi Eisenkot, an opposition lawmaker and former military chief, said of the negotiations.

Speaking with the regime's Channel 12, Eisenkot called for the proposed legislation to be frozen for a year.

Both the premier and his hard-right and ultra-orthodox political allies, however, remain dead set on enacting the changes.

Addressing the Knesset on Wednesday, Netanyahu vowed to continue efforts to "reach understandings as broad as possible" on the judicial overhaul plan.


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