In Israel, a new demonstration against justice reform on the eve of a key Supreme Court hearing

The mobilization continues, on the eve of a hearing perceived as crucial by the opponents

In Israel, a new demonstration against justice reform on the eve of a key Supreme Court hearing

The mobilization continues, on the eve of a hearing perceived as crucial by the opponents. Several thousand people demonstrate in front of the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, Monday evening, September 11, to oppose the justice reform project of the nationalist government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which has deeply divided Israeli society from the start of year.

The Supreme Court is due to hold an exceptional hearing on Tuesday bringing together its fifteen judges to examine appeals filed against a first clause of the reform project, which was adopted by Parliament at the end of July. This measure aims precisely to prevent Supreme Court judges from overturning government decisions on the grounds that they are “unreasonable”, which it has done several times so far.

A historic mobilization movement

Since its announcement in early January, the government project has given rise to one of the largest protest movements that Israel has seen since its creation in 1948.

Monday night, to the sound of the words, “Democracy! Democracy ! ", the demonstrators gathered in Jerusalem were again equipped with Israeli flags, still determined to have this clause annulled, this time by legal means.

“We are here to try to stop this corrupt government's attempts to transform Israel, a liberal democracy, into a fascist regime,” Michael Telias, 42, a professor of neuroscience, told Agence France-Presse (AFP). .

“I want to live in a democratic country, I want my children and my grandchildren to be able to live the life that we hoped for them,” said Miriam Galon, a retiree from Givat Ela, in the north of 'Israel. Many high school students were also present at this demonstration, including Lior, 17, from Tel Aviv, for whom “young people must be in the streets”. “It’s time to wake up, it’s up to us to defend our country and our rights,” added the young girl.

The camp of opponents to the reform thus demonstrates every Saturday evening, mainly in Tel Aviv, but also in many cities of the country.

A possible conciliation agreement castigated by the opposition

But for the government, several members of which have repeatedly accused the Supreme Court of being politicized, this institution should only make its decisions based on the law.

While several Israeli media are discussing a possible conciliation agreement between the government and the opposition on the continuation of judicial reform, under the auspices of President Isaac Herzog, the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, affirmed Monday that he was acting to “ achieve a national consensus that will restore the balance between the three powers.” “If such an agreement is reached, no one will prevent its implementation,” he added, in a thinly veiled warning addressed to some dissenting voices within his majority.

Earlier, National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, of the far-right Jewish Force party, said he was opposed to any “capitulation.” “I am for dialogue, but against capitulation (…) this reform is important for the State of Israel,” he declared in a video released by his office.

The leader of the opposition, Yaïr Lapid, for his part warned Monday evening against “a fictitious compromise proposal” in a video.

According to the government, the reform aims, among other things, to rebalance powers, by reducing the prerogatives of the Supreme Court for the benefit of Parliament. Opponents of the reform fear for their part that the proposed changes, by removing safeguards to the action of the legislative and executive power, will tip Israeli democracy towards an illiberal system. They accuse Mr. Netanyahu, on trial for several corruption and conflict of interest cases, of wanting this reform to get out of his legal troubles.