Over 100,000 protesters again take to Tel Aviv's streets

Demonstrators in Tel Aviv  credit: Shai Kurianski
Demonstrators in Tel Aviv credit: Shai Kurianski

Former prime minister Ehud Barak: We are here to defend the Declaration of Independence.

As legislation of the government’s plans for changes to Israel’s judicial system proceeds apace, opponents of the changes took to the streets last night for the eighth Saturday night in succession. The main demonstration took place around the government offices in Kaplan Street in Tel Aviv. The organizers put the number of protesters there at about 160,000, and said that about 130,000 more took part in protests in other cities.

The Israel Police arrested 21 protesters for creating disturbances during the evening. According to a police statement a policeman and policewoman received medical treatment after being bitten. A group of protesters lit a bonfire on the southbound side of the Ayalon Highway. Thirteen of them were arrested.

Former commander of the Israel Police Roni Alsheich spoke at the rally in Tel Aviv. Referring to the Kohelet Policy Forum, the think-tank that has promoted the changes being made to the status of Israel’s Supreme Court, and was also behind the Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People passed in 2018, Alsheich said, "There is nothing Jewish in Kohelet’s ideas. Judaism called for the restraint of power and the separation of powers a long time before political science. A Jewish public figure should say ‘I have come to serve’. Unfortunately, all we hear is ‘We have come to govern, we have come to rule’. The slogan ‘governance’ has become the supreme value, apparently even overriding the Ten Commandments. No, there is no Jewish value in this."

Former prime minister Ehud Barak, also speaking in Tel Aviv, said, "We are here to defend the Declaration of Independence. What we have before us is a coup d’état. This is an attempt to turn Israel into a democracy along the lines of Hungary and Poland. We won’t let that happen. Only when the legislation is stopped will it be possible to consider dialogue. There is no symmetry. This is not a dispute between neighbors. This is a struggle for everting that is precious and holy to us."

Blue & White party leader Benny Gantz, speaking in Haifa, said, "We shall not leave Israel. We shall continue to serve it and we shall continue to fight for it and we shall continue to take care that it will accord with what is written in the Declaration of Independence. I know that now there are dark clouds. It’s a legal winter, but we shall continue the struggle, in the Knesset, in the media, in the street, and we shall do all we can."

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on February 26, 2023.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2023.

Demonstrators in Tel Aviv  credit: Shai Kurianski
Demonstrators in Tel Aviv credit: Shai Kurianski
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