Tens of thousands of Israelis were expected to join protests across the country on Saturday night as demonstrations against the government’s plans to overhaul and constrain the judiciary entered their 28th week and protest leaders promised “an unprecedented week of civil resistance.”
Anti-government opposition has stepped up in recent weeks as the coalition pushes ahead with plans to pass the “reasonableness” bill, aimed at preventing courts from invalidating or even discussing government and ministers’ decisions based on their “reasonableness.” It intends to pass the bill into law by month’s end.
Saturday’s mass demonstrations come in addition to a “day of resistance” called for Tuesday, with organizers planning protest action and road blockings across the country, and further disruptive actions taking place throughout the week. The day of resistance had initially been called for Monday but was postponed.
“The change in the date of the National Resistance Day comes after an assessment that took place in the last day, in which it was decided to organize a series of protests and diverse, determined actions aimed at putting an end to the judicial overhaul,” organizers said in a statement.
It said Tuesday’s protests “will start an unprecedented week of civil resistance and disobedience to the judicial overhaul.”The government’s decision to push ahead with the reasonableness bill has also sparked fresh warnings from Israel Defense Force reservists — including from pilots and elite commando units — that they would stop showing up for duty if the legislation goes ahead.
On Friday they were joined by the Israel Medical Association, which warned that hospitals and doctors could strike in opposition to the bill.
The association held emergency discussions Thursday to discuss the ramifications of the law and members agreed that “it will devastate the healthcare system and is not just a theoretical concern,” said IMA Chairman Prof. Zion Hagay.
“The members of the executive committee have authorized the leadership to employ all available means, including significant organizational measures,” he said.