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Tel Aviv Protests: Thousands of Israeli protesters descend on airport in anger over Netanyahu plan | World News – Times of India


Israelis have taken to the streets en masse to protest the government’s attempt to weaken the power of judges.
Police arrested more than 70 people after they blocked major roads then released 45 of those detained. The protests started on Monday night when lawmakers moved forward with a key element of the judicial overhaul.
Opponents of the plans, which have divided the country and unnerved foreign investors, gathered in their thousands at the main international airport of Ben Gurion, lining up on sidewalks and waving Israeli flags. Flights continued as normal and after several hours the demonstrators moved back to Tel Aviv.
Nine protesters and one police officer were treated for minor injuries related to the demonstrations, according to Israeli emergency services. They said ambulances had been prevented from reaching local hospitals, delaying urgent medical care for at least six patients.
Israel’s shekel strengthened 0.3% to to 3.69 against the dollar as of 5:45 p.m. local time. It’s weakened almost 5% since the start of the year, in large part because of the protest movement and tech investors’ concerns that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will succeed in pushing through his proposals.
#Israel, anti government protests and nationwide “Day of Disruption” continues. Major demo at Ben Gurion International Airport. Not supposed to start officially for another hour. pic.twitter.com/O4mNuxSVU6
“Last night, Israel became a country on the brink of dictatorship,” one of the main protest groups said. “This is a complete and total destruction of the state of Israel.”
Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu said the coalition Netanyahu leads would not be swayed and reiterated it wanted to change the judicial system “little by little.”
He urged police to respond to the demonstrators forcefully. Education Minister Yoav Kisch called them “terrorists.”
The government, the most right-wing in Israel’s history, argues the judiciary has grown too powerful and is captured by the left. Opponents of the changes encompass a broad swath of Israelis from tech entrepreneurs to military veterans. They say the overhaul would give politicians unchecked powers.
Lawmakers gave initial approval to a bill that would stop judges from blocking government decisions they deem “unreasonable.” It needs to go through two more rounds of voting before it becomes law.
A group of reserve pilots met with the Israeli Air Force commander on Tuesday, Israeli media said. “We will not serve a dictatorship, we have sworn to serve the kingdom, not the king,” they told him, according to the reports.
Since legislation on the judicial overhaul resumed at the end of June, hundreds of military reservists — medics, intelligence officers, combat soldiers and pilots — have signed letters asserting that they won’t feel obliged to show up for service if the judicial changes become law.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said calls to stop serving or volunteering “are a prize to our enemies” and undermind the country’s security.
Dan Illouz, a lawmaker from Netanyahu’s Likud party, said protesters didn’t understand that the judicial change would make Israel’s democracy stronger. He added that the government, with a majority in parliament, had the democratic right to pass legislation.
Opposition leader Yair Lapid, who was prime minister until late last year, accused the coalition of acting “like thieves in the night.”
“The government has revoked the reasonableness clause and proven that nothing interests them other than corrupt anti-democracy laws,” he said in a tweet.



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