Thousands of Israelis marched on Saturday against their hardline government’s controversial plans to reform the judiciary, as the protest campaign showed no signs of abating nearly five months after it began.
The main protest took place in Tel Aviv, Israel’s economic hub on the Mediterranean, with other smaller protests across the country. Last Saturday, grassroots protest organizers canceled the weekly rally due to security concerns after Israel opened fire with militants in the Gaza Strip.
Protesters want the plans by the most hardline government in Israel’s history to be canceled rather than delayed, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced in March.
Earlier this week, Israel’s president hosted representatives from government and opposition parties to discuss legal changes as the parties tried to reach an agreement.
The plans plunge Israel into one of its worst internal crises, opening long-standing social rifts and creating new ones. While the law freeze eased tensions somewhat, Netanyahu’s allies are pressing him to pursue reform.
Supporters of the plan, which would weaken the Supreme Court and limit judicial oversight of lawmakers and government decisions, say it is necessary to rein in an interventionist court and restore power to elected lawmakers.
Critics say it would upset Israel’s fragile system of checks and balances and threaten its democratic foundations.
Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, faced criticism over the legal plan from a wide cross-section of Israeli society, including business leaders, the booming tech sector and military reservists, who reported for duty when the plan was approved. Threatened not to.