Protests Continue after Netanyahu Suspends Judicial Reform

Judicial reforms in Israel temporary delayed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday night amid massive protests all over the country. Netanyahu announced he was temporarily delaying his government’s highly contentious judicial overhaul legislation to allow time for dialogue over the far-reaching reforms. Despite Netanyahu’s agreement to suspend the legislation, his far-right coalition partners insisted that it would yet pass.

After immense public pressure that has seen 12 weeks of massive demonstrations, and, on Monday, the announcement of general strikes by the country’s top labor federation and local councils, the PM said he was allowing for “a delay to provide a real opportunity for real dialogue,” but stressed that “either way,” the fascist reform would be passed.

Protest leaders said they would continue to fight so long as the legislation is not mothballed and the government vows not to legislate unilaterally. “The statements by the prime minister and his extremist partners are an admission that they intend to continue to legislate the dictatorship laws in the next Knesset session.” “This is another attempt to weaken the protest,” they said.

Joining the protest near the Knesset in Jerusalem, MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash), said “we will do everything, in the Knesset and on the streets, to stop fascism.” He asked “all citizens, Jews and Arabs, to take to the streets.” 

“Jewish-Arab partnership against fascism”, Hadash demonstrators in Tel-Aviv, Monday evening, March 27, 2023 (Photo: Zo Haderech)  

On Monday it was reported that tens of thousands of protesters were active in Jerusalem. Israeli media estimated that there were 100,000 protesters in front of the Knesset Building. In Tel Aviv, protestors placed rocks on Ayalon Highway in order to try and block traffic. Police dispersed the protestors and removed the rocks, but other protesters still managed to block the highway. Police said in a statement on Monday that two protestors were arrested in Haifa after protesters blocked roads.

Protest organizers announced on Monday night that protests would continue over the next weekend, despite Netanyahu’s announcement. Protests are expected to be centered in Tel Aviv, although there will be 150 local demonstrations nationwide.