April 15, 2024

Israelis took to the streets Saturday to protest planned judicial reforms that some say could lead to authoritarian powers for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Tens of thousands of people have protested the judicial overhaul every weekend for the last two months.

Israelis protest Saturday against plans by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to overhaul Israel’s judicial system, in Tel Aviv, Israel. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov).

Netanyahu’s government says the overhaul is meant to correct an imbalance that has given courts too much power and prevented lawmakers from carrying out the voters’ will. But critics say it will slide the country to authoritarianism and will give Netanyahu a chance to evade conviction in his corruption trial.

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The plan calls for strengthening political control over judicial appointments, including to the Supreme Court, while weakening that body’s ability to overturn legislation or rule against the government. A proposal would give the government power to overturn decisions by the Supreme Court.

Israelis protest Saturday against plans by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to overhaul Israel’s judicial system, in Tel Aviv, Israel. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg).

“They want to destroy the system because the system isn’t nice to them,” said Eliad Shraga, chairman of the Movement for Quality Government in Israel, who has organized a protest. “This is a hostile takeover by a bunch of crooks.”

Israelis protest Saturday against plans by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to overhaul the judicial system, in Tel Aviv, Israel. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg).

The protests over the reforms have even reached into the country’s military, with over 700 elite officers from the Air Force, special forces and intelligence saying they would stop volunteering for duty beginning Sunday.

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Israeli police officers disperse demonstrators blocking a highway during a protest Saturday against plans by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to overhaul Israel’s judicial system, in Tel Aviv, Israel. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg).

Netanyahu urged the Israeli military’s chief of staff on Sunday to contain the protest from within the ranks.

Demonstrators block a highway during a protest Saturday against plans by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to overhaul Israel’s judicial system, in Tel Aviv, Israel. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg).

— with files from The Associated Press.

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