Tens of thousands of protesters all over Israel blocked roads, snarled traffic and clashed with police after calling a National Day of Resistance to protest the Israeli government’s planned judicial overhaul.
Tens of thousands of Israelis opposed to the Israeli government’s plan to overhaul the judicial system and take power away from the Supreme Court took to the streets for a National Day of Resistance Tuesday.
They blocked roads and snarled traffic all over the country. A protestor in central Israel was seriously injured in a hit and run, although the police said it might have been a traffic accident.
The demonstrators called the Day of Resistance after the right-wing government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu moved ahead with the first piece of legislation that would take power away from the Supreme Court and give it to the government.
Under one proposed change, Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, would be able to overrule Supreme Court decisions with a simple majority.
The legislation had been on hold for several months but this week the government moved ahead and said it wants to pass it before the Knesset starts a recess at the end of the month.
The protests have been going on for six months since Netanyahu first announced the reforms. But now a growing number of Israel army reservists including thousands of pilots, cyberwarfare experts, intelligence operatives and elite combat soldiers, say they will no longer report for reserve duty if the legislation goes through.
Israel is a small country and if they follow through on their threat, it could affect Israel’s combat readiness at a time when it is facing threats from Hezbollah in the north, Hamas in Gaza and Israel’s biggest strategic threat, Iran.
Admiral Eliezer Marom, former head of Israel’s navy, told the Israeli TV channel I-24 news that these reservists are making a mistake.
“I condemn them, I think they are (making) a mistake. Some of them are my colleagues, some are my commanders, some of them are my subordinates. I know all of them and I think they are (making) a mistake. The reason they are (making) a mistake is because the IDF is the center of the consensus. And this is the most important part in the military of Israel, the defense of Israel, and protecting the sovereignty of Israel,” said Marom.
He said that the move will harm the consensus in Israeli society around the role of the army.
The protests come as Israel’s President Isaac Herzog travels to Washington to meet President Joe Biden and address a joint session of Congress. President Biden has expressed his strong reservations about the judicial overhaul.