Israeli demonstrators block highways on ‘day of turmoil’ against Prime Minister Netanyahu’s judicial reform plan | Wagon Radio 720

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) – In the latest nationwide demonstration against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned judicial reforms, Israeli protesters blocked a highway on Tuesday and closed the Tel Aviv stock exchange. gathered outside the army headquarters.

The latest “day of turmoil” came as the prime minister’s longtime allies tried to pass a controversial bill through parliamentary committees ahead of a vote scheduled for next week.

More protests are planned for the day.

The demonstrators, many of them reservists, formed human chains to block one of the entrances to the Israeli military command center Kirya in central Tel Aviv. Outside the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, demonstrators lit smoke bombs, beat drums and yelled, holding placards reading “Save the emerging nations” and “Dictatorships destroy the economy.”

Some protested outside the headquarters of Histadrut, Israel’s largest trade union, calling for a general strike against the organization, a move that could paralyze the country’s economy. Demonstrators climbed onto scaffolding outside the building and hoisted reserve protest flags. Trade unions called for a strike in March, which helped Prime Minister Netanyahu freeze judicial reform.

Prime Minister Netanyahu heads the most ultranationalist and religiously conservative government in Israel’s 75-year history. Shortly after taking office in December, he proposed a series of sweeping reforms to the country’s judicial system. The country’s government took office in the aftermath of its fifth election in less than four years, all of which were seen as referendums on the suitability of the prime minister, who is on trial for corruption.

Prime Minister Netanyahu suspended the overhaul in March after massive weekly protests, but last month decided to revive the plan after compromise talks with opposition parties broke down.

The proposed bill would give lawmakers greater control over judge appointments and give Congress the power to overturn High Court decisions and pass laws immune to judicial review.

The bill, which passes Congress this week, would remove the Supreme Court’s power to override government decisions it deems unreasonable. Judges used that “reasonability clause” to cancel the appointment of a key ally of Prime Minister Netanyahu as interior minister in a plea bargain on tax evasion in 2021.

He and his supporters say the move is necessary to curb overactivity in the unelected Supreme Court. Critics say the judicial reform will concentrate power in the hands of Prime Minister Netanyahu and his allies and weaken the country’s system of checks and balances.

They also allege there is a conflict of interest as Prime Minister Netanyahu is on trial for fraud, breach of trust and bribery. Israeli demonstrators block highways on ‘day of turmoil’ against Prime Minister Netanyahu’s judicial reform plan | Wagon Radio 720

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