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Protests continue in Israel as Netanyahu presses on with judicial overhaul

Israeli protesters have blocked the main highway from Tel Aviv to West Jerusalem as lawmakers were set to plough ahead with a
contentious judicial overhaul that opponents see as a threat to

“Israel is not a dictatorship, Israel is not Hungary,” the
protesters called on Wednesday. 

Demonstrations were expected to intensify nationwide in what
protest organisers have dubbed a “day of disruption”.

far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said he
would not allow a “mutiny”, or “anarchists” to block roads.

The reform was proposed by Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu’s nationalist-religious coalition government in

It includes giving the government decisive sway in
picking judges and limits the scope of the Supreme Court to
strike down legislation or rule against the executive.

Critics say that this would greatly weaken judicial
independence, given Israel has no constitution and only one
house of parliament that is controlled by the coalition.

‘Constitutional and social collapse’

In parliament on Wednesday, the Knesset’s Constitution,
Justice and Law Committee was set to give initial approval to
more proposals in the plan.

Warning the country was on the brink of “constitutional and
social collapse,” President Isaac Herzog, whose role is largely
ceremonial, is trying to formulate a compromise on the changes.

The plan has yet to be written into law, but it has already
affected the Israeli shekel and drawn concern from some Western
allies who have signalled concern about the democratic health of
the country if the government goes through with the overhaul.

“Slow down a little a bit, maybe bring people together, try
and build some consensus,” US Ambassador Tom Nides said at Tel
Aviv University’s conference of the Institute forNational
Security Studies late on Tuesday.

Netanyahu, on trial facing corruption charges that he denies,
says the changes will restore the balance between the branches of
government and boost business. 

Economists and legal experts have
said it will isolate Israel and wreak havoc on its economy.

Israelis hold new mass rally against Netanyahu’s judicial reforms

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