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Reform plans: Hundreds of thousands protest in Israel against judicial reform

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The highly controversial judicial reform in Israel is progressing despite massive resistance. Prime Minister Netanyahu travels to Berlin on Wednesday – criticism awaits him there too.

Before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits Berlin, hundreds of thousands again demonstrated in Israel against judicial reform. In the coastal metropolis of Tel Aviv alone, around 200,000 demonstrators marched through the streets with blue and white flags on Saturday evening. According to media reports, there were around 50,000 in Haifa. There were also rallies in cities like Jerusalem, Beersheba and Eilat. According to plans by the right-wing religious government, parliament should in future be able to overturn decisions of the Supreme Court with a simple majority. In addition, politicians should have more influence in the appointment of judges.

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According to his office, Netanyahu will be in Berlin from Wednesday to Friday, for the first time since returning to government. A meeting with Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) is also planned. According to media reports on Wednesday, demonstrators want to try to disrupt the departure of the conservative head of government from Israel. Another “day of anger” with protests is planned for Thursday. Netanyahu must also reckon with criticism in Berlin. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has already expressed concern.

Reports of arrested reporter

According to media reports, the police briefly arrested a reporter from the Haaretz newspaper on Saturday who was about to make his way to the rally in Tel Aviv. Accordingly, there were complaints about a tweet in which the journalist called Netanyahu a “dictator” and advised him not to travel to Berlin. Israeli President Izchak Herzog publicly spoke out against the plans a few days ago. Nevertheless, core elements of the reform could already pass Parliament in the next few days.

Critics see the separation of powers in danger and warn that Israel could turn into a dictatorship. The historian Yuval Noah Harari (“A Brief History of Mankind”) accused the Netanyahu government of planning a “coup d’etat”. The draft law could also play into Netanyahu’s hands in a corruption trial that has been going on against him for some time. The government, on the other hand, argues that the Supreme Court currently wields too much political influence. The reform strengthens democracy.

Source: Stern

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