Thousands of Israelis gathered in Tel Aviv on Saturday for the 13th consecutive week to protest against the justice reform project, despite the “pause” in the legislative process decided by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Waving Israeli flags, demonstrators marched through the center of the city chanting “democracy” and carrying signs against Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, one of the most right-wing in Israel’s history.

Smaller rallies were held in other cities across the country.

Since the announcement of the reform project in early January, tens of thousands of Israelis have demonstrated every week to denounce the project and shout down the government formed in December by Mr. Netanyahu.

A legislative “pause” was announced on March 27 by Mr. Netanyahu to give a “chance […] to dialogue”, after a day of intensification of the protest, the start of a general strike and the appearance of tensions within the majority, triggered in particular by the announcement of the dismissal of Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who had called for a “break”.

For the government, the reform aims, among other things, to rebalance powers by reducing the prerogatives of the Supreme Court, which the executive considers politicized, in favor of Parliament.

Critics of the reform believe, on the contrary, that it risks jeopardizing the democratic principles in use in Israel by blowing up the safeguards. They fear that it opens the way to an illiberal or authoritarian drift.

A meeting took place on March 28 between representatives of the majority and the two main opposition parties, as part of a mediation under the aegis of President Isaac Herzog.

Several political analysts and opposition leaders are however skeptical about the chances of success of presidential mediation.

Mr. Gallant, who has not yet received the official letter of dismissal required by law, continues to exercise his functions normally within the government.

01/04/2023 21:38:09 –         Tel-Aviv (AFP) –         © 2023 AFP