Against the background of the disqualification of Aryeh Deri from serving as a government minister by the High Court of Justice, thousands of people attended demonstrations in Israel this evening (Saturday). In Tel Aviv, police put the number of demonstrators at over 100,000. Two demonstrations were held in the city: one in Habima Square, and the other in Kaplan Street, where government offices are located. They eventually merged.
Large demonstrations were also held in Haifa, Jerusalem, and Beersheva, to protest against the government’s plans to overhaul the judicial system in Israel, including curtailing the powers of the Supreme Court and domination by the ruling coalition of the selection of judges. The protesters see the measures as degrading democratic government in Israel and undermining the separation of powers. The demonstrations are taking place for the third successive week.
Adv. Avi Himi, chairperson of the Israel Bar Association, told demonstrators in Tel Aviv, “The main story here is our freedoms, citizens of the country. The country doesn’t need a legal putsch, but a constitution.”
Author David Grossman, also speaking in Tel Aviv, said, “Israeli is engaged in a fateful struggle over its character, over its democratic face, over human rights, over artistic freedom, over unfettered public broadcasting. Our struggle is against cynical politicians, some of them corrupt, who are determined to redefine justice unilaterally and anti-democratically, in a coup.”
Former chief of staff and minister of defense Moshe Ya’alon said at the Kaplan Street demonstration, “A country in which the prime minister appoints all the judges and is responsible for promoting or dismissing them is called a dictatorship. The tens of thousands of Israeli citizens here and at protest events around the country – we shall defend with our bodies the judicial branch, the principle of the supremacy of the law, and our democracy.”
Former minister of justice Gideon Sa’ar, speaking in Haifa, said, “In the battle against corruption there is no right and left, it’s a battle on behalf of the entire people of Israel. Ladies and gentlemen, 75 hours have passed since the Supreme Court ruled in the matter of Aryeh Deri. Mr. Prime Minister, you are displaying contempt for a ruling of the Supreme Court. Mr. Prime Minister, you are not above the law. There is a ruling by the Supreme Court: dismiss minister Aryeh Deri from membership of the government of Israel immediately.”
Published by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – on January 21, 2023.
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2023.