Protests against ‘Netanyahu’s dictatorship’ to continue despite pause in judicial overhaul, meetings to seek compromise

Protest groups, unsatisfied with pause for negotiations, say chaos will continue until judicial overhaul legislation is officially shelved.

By Adina Katz, World Israel News

Merely hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a one-month pause of the judicial reform legislation and the start of negotiations, protest organizers said they will continue mass demonstrations.

Despite the overhaul being paused, protest leaders pledged to continue battling the current coalition government headed by Netanyahu.

The protest organizers, who led massive demonstrations over the past several weeks that have blocked traffic on major routes and even managed to shut down the country on Monday, said they will not stop their activity until the judicial overhaul legislation is shelved for good.

The legislative pause is “just an attempt to weaken the protests in order to enact Netanyahu’s dictatorship,” said Dr. Shikma Bressler, a founder of the anti-Netanyahu Black Flags protest group, in a statement. “Now is not the time to reduce the pressure, but to increase it.”

“Netanyahu is not trustworthy,” said an umbrella group of anti-government protesters in a statement.

“He has proved to us that he cannot be relied upon. Therefore, so long as he’s only talking, and not acting, the protests continue. The protests will stop when we have established that there is a complete halt to the legislation.”

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Opposition Leader Yair Lapid wrote on Twitter that he had doubts Netanyahu was serious about finding a broad consensus on judicial refor, and said he was wary of entering talks with the premier.

“First of all, we have to be sure that there are no tricks or deception here,” Lapid wrote. “We heard reports that Netanyahu told his associates, ‘I’m not really stopping, I’m just lowering the flames.’ If he tries to [trick] us, he will once again find [himself facing] hundreds of thousands of Israeli patriots who are determined to fight for our democracy.”

The “Week of Paralysis” planned for the coming days has been suspended; however, protest leaders said “focused demonstrations” would continue taking place throughout the country.

The Saturday evening anti-Netanyahu protest in Tel Aviv, which has taken place weekly since the premier’s return to power in December 2022, will continue as usual, the organizers said.