(Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Thousands of Israeli citizens participated in demonstrations in front of Israel’s parliament in occupied Jerusalem on 13 February in protest against the new far-right government’s decision to limit the authority of the national judiciary.
Several reports suggest that over 70,000 protesters were present during the demonstration. The Israeli government’s judicial reform essentially grants Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition government more control over who gets appointed to the Supreme Court bench. Protests against the coalition government’s decision have been ongoing for weeks.
כבר עכשיו ניתן להכריז על הצלחה אדירה.
מתקרבים ל-100,000 איש באיזור הכנסת.
כוח עצום של התנגדות אזרחית מול ההפיכה המשטרית. ברגע האמת עם ישראל קם לעצור את הסכנה לדמוקרטיה הישראלית.
מראות שלא נראו כמותם בעבר.
תמונות רחפן: חומי פוזנר pic.twitter.com/3Qn33I45Vs
— מהפך ישראלי (@MahapachIsraeli) February 13, 2023
Several businesses, including law firms and tech startups, granted permission to employees to join the wide-scale protests.
Hundreds of protesters held Israeli flags and blue and white posters denouncing the judicial reform, chanting, “Shame! Shame!” Several placards read “Save Israel Democracy” and “The whole world is watching.” Other demonstrations were held on the same day outside schools across the country.
The Knesset Constitution Committee voted to send the first chapter of the judicial reform to the Knesset for a first reading that will take place later this week, following a meeting during which several opposition lawmakers were forced to leave after condemning the decision.
A day prior, Israeli President Isaac Herzog urged Netanyahu’s coalition government not to bring the legislation for the judicial overhaul to a vote.
Early last week, Israeli cybersecurity corporation Wiz disclosed that it plans to withdraw its money from Israel in response to the newly appointed government’s decision to restrict Tel Aviv’s judicial system.
Wiz, valued at $6 billion, is set to withdraw tens of millions of dollars from national banks.
This came a few days after French President Emmanuel Macron expressed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu his concerns over Israel’s new judicial overhaul, further warning that this “threatens to undermine the strength of the Supreme Court, the only institutional counter-power in the government.”
In December 2022, over 1,000 Israeli air force officials sent letters to the Israeli supreme court, urging that it halt the formation of Netanyahu’s coalition government and claiming that the new government would destroy “Israeli democracy.”
Not long after their written demand to denounce the government, the current Israeli army chief of staff, Aviv Kochavi, and US Jewish leaders issued a similar outcry.