Israelis took to the streets Saturday to protest planned judiciary reforms that some say could lead to authoritarian powers for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Tens of thousands of people have protested the judiciary overhaul every weekend for the last two months.
Netanyahu’s government says the overhaul is meant to correct an imbalance that has given courts too much power and prevented lawmakers from carrying out the voters’ will. But critics say it will slide the country to authoritarianism and will give Netanyahu a chance to evade conviction in his corruption trial.
The plan calls to strengthen political control over judicial appointments, including to the Supreme Court, while weakening that body’s ability to overturn legislation or rule against the government. A proposal would give the government power to overturn decisions by the Supreme Court.
“They want to destroy the system because the system wasn’t nice to them,” said Eliad Shraga, chairman of the Movement for Quality Government in Israel, who has organized a protest. “This is a hostile takeover by a bunch of crooks.”
The protests over the reforms have even reached into the country’s military, with over 700 elite officers from the Air Force, special forces and intelligence saying they would stop volunteering for duty beginning Sunday.
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Netanyahu urged the Israeli military’s chief of staff on Sunday to contain the protest from within the ranks.
— with files from The Associated Press.
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