TThousands of people once again protested in Israel against the controversial judicial reform of the right-wing religious government. In the center of Tel Aviv, for the eleventh Saturday in a row, demonstrators took to the streets with Israeli flags and protest signs. Among other things, it said: “No to dictatorship” or “Israel is not yet Iran”. Rallies were also planned in cities such as Jerusalem, Haifa and Beersheba.
For more than two months, thousands have taken to the streets of Israel against a comprehensive legislative proposal. Among other things, Parliament should be able to overrule decisions of the Supreme Court by a simple majority vote. In addition, politicians should have more influence in appointing judges. The coalition wants to get the key elements of the controversial reform through fast track procedures by the end of the month. Critics see the separation of powers as the mainstay of democracy in danger and warn of a dangerous state crisis.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately rejected a compromise proposal presented by Israeli President Yitzhak Herzog on Wednesday. It is unbalanced and only cements the current state. The opposition supported the proposal. “It’s not perfect, but it’s a fair compromise that allows us to live here together,” opposition leader Jair Lapid said. In a civil war, there are only losers. Herzog stressed that this proposal was intended as a basis for negotiations.
On the road with an Israeli license plate
The protest movement is one of the largest in the history of Israel and covers wide sections of society. There is also increasing resistance from the army. Hundreds of elite military reserve officers, for example, have announced that they will no longer be on duty as of Sunday.
Meanwhile, in the West Bank city of Nablus, Palestinians threw stones at a car carrying two tourists. According to unconfirmed reports, they were German vacationers. According to several Israeli media outlets on Saturday, they were driving in a car-sharing service with Israeli license plates. A military spokesman said the victims suffered minor injuries and were treated by Israeli soldiers after the incident. Then they were handed over to the police.
The army and police initially did not comment on the origin of the tourists. There was also no official confirmation from the German embassy in the evening. Ambassador Steffen Seibert tweeted about the reports: “Mobs that attack tourists because they don’t like their license plates are disgusting and cowardly.” He thanked the Palestinian-Israeli citizen who saved her “from the bottom of his heart.” According to reports, the man helped two tourists leave the city.
A video posted on social media shows about two dozen men and young people throwing stones at a car on a busy road and initially forcibly preventing it from continuing in slow moving traffic. Additional footage shows that the car was affixed with the Tel Aviv city logo and an Israeli flag sticker. The video’s authenticity could not initially be independently verified.
Nablus is one of the autonomous Palestinian territories. Israelis are strictly prohibited from entering the country. Foreign tourists can visit the city. However, the Foreign Ministry “strongly advises against” traveling to the area around Nablus. The security situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories has been particularly tense for several months. More violence is feared during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which begins next week.
Source: Frantfurter Allgemeine