Counterprotests planned at major Israeli universities supporting Netanyahu gov’t reforms

Pushing back: Groups, students in favor of judicial reform by the newly elected government are speaking out against the anti-government protests, incitement to “civil war.”

By World Israel News Staff

In light of calls for civil rebellion against the new Israeli government by leading members of the Opposition, former senior officials in the justice system, former IDF higher-ups and left-wing student activists, the Im Tirtzu Movement is planning a large-scale demonstration on major campuses across the country against the incitement, the Zionist NGO announced Thursday.

The theme of the protests – to be held next Monday, 12:30 p.m., at Tel Aviv University, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Bar-Ilan University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem – is: “Protecting democracy. Students are in favor of the reform of the judicial system. The rebellion will not help – the reform must pass!”

“We will not stand by while public figures call for civil riots and citizens demonstrate with the flags of a terrorist organization and compare the Minister of Justice to a Nazi,” stated Shai Rosengarten, Im Tirtzu’s national campus coordinator, referring to placards waved at an anti-government protest Saturday night likening Justice Minister Yariv Levin to German Nazis.

“The elections have been decided. The majority of the people support the reform of the judicial system. It is time to move forward and preserve democracy in our country,” Rosengarten said.

Levin planned steps for his overhaul of Israel’s justice system which would see the Supreme Court stripped of the ability to unilaterally veto legislation passed by the Knesset. Changes to the manner according to which justices are chosen, reducing unelected legal advisors’ ability to influence government decisions, and clearly defining under which circumstances the court is allowed to intervene in legislative matters are also part of the potential reform.

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Thousands of left-wing Israelis – claiming to be fighting to preserve democracy, although the Right was voted into power in the November national election – protested in Tel Aviv Saturday night against the reforms, with plans to continue the large-scale demonstrations this coming weekend.

“If you continue down the path you are now taking, you will bear the responsibility for the eventual civil war in Israeli society,” National Unity party head and former defense minister Benny Gantz said Monday, in comments aimed at Netanyahu.

“I am telling you this as clearly as possible: You have chosen audacity, but we will choose to fight you in a just struggle,” he said.

Lapid on Monday called the government’s proposed judicial reforms an “extreme regime change” and vowed to continue fighting in streets across the country in “a war over our home.” He reportedly is working on gaining support from American Jews to sabotage the Netanyahu government.

Calling for a “broad public rebellion,” former deputy IDF chief Yair Golan, a former MK in the extreme-left Meretz party, which failed to reach the electoral threshold in the recent election, stated Tuesday on Twitter:

“From tomorrow, we’re changing things. No more polite Saturday evening protests. No more lamentations and complaints. Just actions. Just results. Businesses will be shut down, services will come to a halt, roads will be blocked, and this arrogant person who presumes to rule, with the help of corrupt, extreme, and dark forces will be made to realize that the people are sovereign.”

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Netanyahu on Sunday rejected the “baseless” claims that the proposed judicial reforms would mark the end of the country’s democracy, saying his government would implement the plan “responsibly.”