Major businesses, tech firms strike ahead of judicial reform vote – malls, offices close

Business group representing banks, malls halts operations, demands that Netanyahu prevent judicial reform “disaster.”

By World Israel News Staff

Many of Israel’s largest businesses and tech companies announced that they were halting operations on Monday as an act of protest ahead of an expected vote in the Knesset regarding the “reasonability” clause.

As of Monday morning, the Knesset is set to pass a bill that would strip the Supreme Court of its ability to nullify government and legislative decisions that it deems to be unreasonable.

Opponents to the judicial overhaul have expressed their vehement opposition to the bill, holding large protests in Jerusalem on Sunday, following a days-long march to the capital.

The Business Forum, an umbrella group representing 150 of Israel’s top shopping centers, retail chains, banks, and other businesses, employs hundreds of thousands of Israelis.

In a statement released late Sunday evening, the group announced that it was freezing its routine operations on Monday.

The group urged other companies to “join the emergency step that was taken, without any choice, to bring the unilateral legislation to a halt, and enter into [compromise] talks.”

The statement called for the coalition and opposition parties to “reach agreements that will prevent the dramatic damage to the economy and the rift that is tearing apart society, disbanding the people’s army and endangering the security and future of us all.

“The forum calls on the prime minister to fulfill his duty, understand the scale of the disaster that may occur and immediately stop the legislation and enter into negotiation,” the statement added.

Some businesses within the group, such as banks and the Shufersal grocery store, will continue operating in a so-called “emergency format,” while others, such as clothing stores, will be shuttered entirely.

It’s unclear if the workers forced to stay home due to the executives’ decisions will receive compensation for their missed day of work.

A number of Israeli tech companies, including Lemonade, Papaya Global, Wiz, and Wix, announced that they would join the Israeli Business Forum and also participate in the strike.

Notably, the Histadrut labor organization has held off on declaring a general strike for the time being.