Although Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has "partially" bowed to the demands of popular protests with his decision to freeze the plan to "reform the judiciary" and initiate dialogue sessions with the opposition, the ferment of demonstrators in the streets continues.
On Monday evening, Netanyahu said in a televised address: "I have decided to suspend the Knesset vote on legislation to reform the judiciary to reach a broad agreement out of national responsibility and the desire to prevent the division of the nation."
With the opposition welcoming Netanyahu's decision, demonstrators against the judicial amendments insist on continuing protests in Israeli cities, calling for a new takeover in the streets on Tuesday and Saturday.
Immediately after Netanyahu's speech, protest organizers in Tel Aviv said in a statement that "leaders of the resistance to the dictatorship are inviting the public to come to Kaplan for protests to start throughout the day as part of the struggle across the country."
In an information framework, "Anatolia" monitors the scene of the unprecedented protest movement in Israel, which made the world's attention pay attention to it, in an attempt to answer the identity of the demonstrators, their demands and the parties to which they belong.
Organizers of the demonstrations
The current demonstrations were launched under the umbrella of the "Headquarters of the Struggle against the Judicial Coup", but originally include left-wing organizations, some of which were active in the protests against Netanyahu during his presidency of the 35th Israeli government (May 17, 2020 – June 13, 2021).
– The "Black Flags" movement at the head of the organizers of the demonstrations, a movement launched by 4 brothers from the Schvartsman family, and the private Hebrew Channel 13 revealed in a report that the funding of the movement came from the "National Responsibility" association of former Prime Minister Ehud Barak.
– The Crime Minister, which calls for speeding up Netanyahu's trial, and in 2020 organized weekly demonstrations with the "Yn Mitzav" and "Black Flags" movements that lasted every Saturday for more than 6 months, demanding Netanyahu's resignation due to corruption allegations against him.
The Movement for Quality Governance, which works through donations and membership fees for its members, is active in petitioning the Supreme Court, exposing the actions of government officials incompatible with sound public administration, holding an annual seminar on topics of good governance and organizing marches and home circles.
Protest groups choose several areas in Tel Aviv and other cities to organize protests against the draft judicial amendments:
– The main protest centers in Tel Aviv on Kaplan and Eyalon Street.
– In front of the Prime Minister's Office in West Jerusalem.
– Horev Square in the northern city of Haifa.
Dozens of other towns joined the wave of protests starting in February.
Participants in demonstrations
The protests, which began on Saturdays of each week, attracted protesters from various sectors, including:
Opposition supporters include university students, academics, businessmen, private sector companies and employees of the high-tech sector.
– Groups from Zionist religious backgrounds.
On March 19, the Military Prosecutor's Office decided that there was no obstacle to soldiers participating in demonstrations, provided that they were only in civilian clothes.
Overseas Israelis in cities such as Berlin, Rome, London, New York, San Francisco, Boston and Washington.
– The protesters demand that the "judicial reform" plan put to a vote in the Knesset (parliament) and that the ruling coalition was planning to pass before the end of the Knesset's winter session on April 2.
Protesters call the plan a "judicial coup," say it marks the "beginning of the end" of Israeli democracy, and believe that if implemented, it will affect the progress of Netanyahu's corruption trial.
– The protests began after Justice Minister Yariv Levin announced on January 4 a plan to "reform the judiciary" that limits the powers of the Supreme Court (the highest judicial body) and the government coalition's control over the committee for the appointment of judges, days after Netanyahu's government was sworn in in late December 2022.
The demonstrations began with organizations known to be anti-Netanyahu and his regime, and were soon joined by other groups and organizations and large segments of Israeli society.
Implications and implications
The demonstrations, estimated at 250,<> participants on Saturdays across Israel, have drawn a sharp societal divide, amid warnings by President Isaac Herzog and opposition leaders of an "impending civil war."
– The demonstrations encouraged the expansion of the rejection of military service among the ranks of reserve officers in the air force and intelligence and its arrival to the regular forces.
On March 27, 23 heads of a local authority went on hunger strike in front of the Prime Minister's Office in West Jerusalem.
On March 26, Netanyahu sacked Defense Minister Yoav Galant, a day after he called on the government to halt the "judicial reform" law amid mass demonstrations.
– International airlines announced the suspension of flights to Israel following a strike by the Histadrut trade union at Ben Gurion Airport.
– The White House expressed deep concern about the events in Israel, calling for the need to reach a settlement.
– Netanyahu announced on the evening of March 27 the suspension of the plan to "reform the judiciary" and the start of a dialogue with the opposition, which welcomed the decision.