‘Coward’: Netanyahu drops Tel Aviv event as hundreds protest, block traffic outside hall

This last-minute change was the third event that the prime minister canceled since the beginning of the protests over judicial reform.

By World Israel News Staff

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled a planned appearance at a conference of the Israel Lands Authority Wednesday after hundreds of anti-judicial overhaul protesters rallied outside of the event.

Netanyahu and other coalition lawmakers had been slated to attend the conference, held at Tel Aviv’s Eretz Israel Museum, but the prime minister made a last-minute cancellation following reports that protesters were blocking traffic outside of the event.

This is the third event Netanyahu has dropped out of over anti-judicial reform protests, Walla reported.

Justice Minister Yariv Levin (Likud), one of the architects of the judicial reform plan, had also been scheduled to address the gathering, only to nix his appearance at the last minute.

The minister’s office claimed Levin dropped out due to his busy schedule and not because of the protests.

News of Netanyahu’s decision to drop out of the event drew cheers from the protesters, who mocked the prime minister, calling him a “coward.”

Other Coalition members attended the event as planned, including Transportation Minister Miri Regev (Likud) and Housing and Construction Minister Yitzhak Goldknopf (United Torah Judaism).

Read  'Operation Shield and Arrow': Netanyahu, defense minister warn Israelis to be prepared

Protesters shouted down Goldknopf, interrupting his speech repeatedly with cries of “Shame” and “Go home,” leading him to walk offstage midway through his address.

In Jerusalem, police geared up for demonstrations outside the Knesset, after a protest convey set out for the capital, with a rally planned in Jerusalem to coincide with a vote by the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee to bring a bill reforming the judicial appointments committee to its second and third votes in the Knesset.

A smaller protest was also held in a Kfar Saba mall, ahead of a visit by Culture and Sports Minister Miki Zohar (Likud).

The demonstrations come less than a week after the third consecutive weekly “Day of Disruption,” in which anti-reform activists blocked the Port of Haifa and major roads across the country.