‘Bad guys vs. good guys’ – Tens of thousands rally outside Knesset against judicial reform

“States can turn from a democracy into a dictatorship, as is happening here,” says Tel Aviv mayor at Jerusalem protest, adding that only “bloodshed” can bring back the democracy.

By World Israel News Staff

Tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered in Jerusalem and other cities in Israel on Monday as part of a large protest against reforms to the judicial system proposed by Justice Minister Yariv Levin.

Protesters snarled traffic in Israel’s capital city and in Tel Aviv, and large demonstrations were reported in Haifa

The demonstrations are centered on the Knesset building in central Jerusalem, with protesters gathering at noon as lawmakers debate changes to Israel’s legal system.

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, who joined protesters outside of the Knesset, told Channel 13 News that Israel is teetering on the verge of a dictatorship.

“States can turn from a democracy into a dictatorship, as is happening here. Dictatorships only become democratic again with bloodshed. That is the history of the world,” Huldai said.

“[The coalition parties] are not interested in the president’s plea. I am appealing to all serious people who know the State of Israel — you have to understand that there is no right or left here; there are bad guys versus good guys.”

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Notably, following a speech from President Isaac Herzog pleading for compromise, the coalition has reportedly agreed to delay final votes on the measures until next week, creating time for negotiations with the opposition parties.

Police closed multiple roads in Jerusalem as well as several major thoroughfares in Tel Aviv where protesters were marching.

Videos circulating on social media showed crowded trains transporting protesters to Jerusalem, and Israel Railways said they had introduced additional trains in order to accommodate the upswell in passengers.

Dozens of demonstraters temporarily blocked the turnoff to Ben Gurion Airport from Route 1, Israel’s main west-east highway.

Around 20 protesters from the “Stop the Coup” group shouted slogans outside the Minister for the Development of the Periphery, the Negev and the Galilee Yitzhak Wasserlauf’s south Tel Aviv home.

“The coup threatens the lives of all the country’s citizens, and therefore we see the fight against it as a civic and moral duty. Citizens of the State of Israel do not want to live in a dictatorship, and we won’t let a small group of extremists cause us to,” the group said in a statement.

In fact, the government won a majority in the last national election, in which Israelis supported its agenda.

“Several months ago, there was a huge demonstration, the mother of all demonstrations,” Prime Minister Netanyahu stated last month, following a large demonstration. “Millions of people took to the streets to vote in the elections. One of the main topics that they voted on was reforming the judicial system.”

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Wasserlauf, who is a member of Itamar Ben-Gvir’s Otzma Yehudit party, brushed off the protesters and said that they only strengthen the government’s determination to pass the judicial reforms.

A large group of lesbians on motorcycles flying LGBT flags, who call themselves the “Proud Riders” in Hebrew, also blocked traffic on the Tel Aviv stretch of Ayalon Highway.