EPA Demonstrators at the Knesset
NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 17:48
At least 80,000 protesters have gathered outside Israel’s parliament in Jerusalem awaiting a speech from Prime Minister Netanyahu. Israeli media report this based on police estimates. Netanyahu is expected to announce in his speech that controversial government plans to reform the judiciary are (for now) off. Demonstrations are also taking place in the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa.
In addition, it is taken into account that later tonight far-right groups in the country will make themselves heard. Earlier this afternoon, Netanyahu called on protesters from both sides not to use violence.
Initially, the prime minister was supposed to speak this morning, but the speech was postponed several times, reportedly due to bickering between Netanyahu and the coalition parties.
Israel was already unsettled last night after Defense Minister Yoav Gallant was fired by Netanyahu. He had criticized the far-reaching reforms. The radical right-wing Security Minister Ben-Gvir is said to have threatened to resign if Netanyahu suspends the plans.
The unrest continued during the day as well. Protesters are currently trying to shut down the economy by means of strikes in various sectors. As a result, flights from the country’s main airport could not depart today. Large shopping malls, schools and universities have closed their doors and Israeli diplomats are not working abroad.
At the end of last year, the most right-wing and religiously conservative government ever installed in Israel, led by Netanyahu. The government soon presented far-reaching reforms. For example, the power of the Supreme Court must be curtailed and the number of settlements in the West Bank expanded.
View an overview of the demonstrations here:
Thousands of people demonstrate in Tel Aviv, flights canceled due to strikes
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