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  • Michael N.

The Israeli Supreme Court and Protests

On the news, you may have seen that in Israel people have been demonstrating in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Recently, Benjamin Netanyahu has regained the title of Israeli Prime Minister, which he held from 1996 to 1999 and from 2009 to 2021. Towards the end of his time in office, there were five elections within five years, causing political instability. He shortly lost his power to Yair Lapid.

Netanyahu is the leader of the political party Likud in Israel, which has formed a coalition with five other parties since the 29th of December 2022. Most of these coalition parties are smaller than Likud but represent religious Jews. Due to it being a tradition for Jews to have children -unlike Christian nuns and monks- the religious population in Israel has been rising in recent years and is funneling a population growth in Israel.

Due to the growth in voters for these parties, PM Netanyahu has formed a coalition with them. Netanyahu was supposed to go to court soon for corruption and bribery. He has been trying to find a way out of this situation and has appointed Yariv Levin as Justice Minister so that he could change Israeli Supreme Court Law to insure that the coalition parties can select judges. Through this, the government has more power over the supreme court. This has caused an outrage amongst the opposition parties and Israeli citizens and resulted in demonstrations, strikes among social service workers and hunger strikes in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv on every Shabbat from the 7th of January.

On the 25th of March, a record breaking 630,000 demonstrated, which is over 15% of the whole Israeli Population. Israeli Diplomats in the UK and US were on strike and when Benjamin Netanyahu's wife was spotted at a hair salon in Tel Aviv, protestors stood outside of the salon for three hours before she was escorted with the help of police. On TV, politicians have been calling Netanyahu a dictator. Regularly, hundreds of thousands demonstrate in Tel Aviv, often in front of the Knesset, the parliamentary building. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant talked about the incident and was soon fired by PM Netanyahu, which has caused more outrage. So far, the court process has been delayed to after Passover (a Jewish festival often roughly at a similar time to Easter). Netanyahu and his coalition parties haven’t done much other than using more forces to stop protests. Throughout these protests, Netanyahu hasn’t said much and his plans are uncertain but he is starting to run out of time as protests and strikes continue.

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