‘They haven’t left me alone all day’: Protesters flood Knesset aides with calls, messages; unable to work

MKs and ministers’ advisers are overwhelmed with phone calls and messages from protesters against judicial overhaul, aimed at preventing them from functioning.

 By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Parliamentary aides to members of the government coalition became the newest target of judicial reform opponents Thursday in a telephone campaign meant to stop them from functioning, Israel National News (INN) reported.

Several advisers told the news site that they have been flooded with telephone and Whatsapp messages since early morning from people calling themselves “concerned citizens” who are against the judicial reform bills. The coalition says the purpose of the overhaul is to recalibrate the balance of powers between the branches of government in favor of the elected legislature over the unelected judiciary.

According to INN, one organizer gave instructions to overwhelm the aides because “they are the ones who do a sizeable portion of the parliamentary work and are the most direct line to the ministers and MKs. Overloading their phones to the point that they can’t function will directly harm the Knesset proceedings without interfering in citizens’ daily lives.”

The numerous times that major urban roads and highways in the country have been blocked over recent weeks by demonstrators against the judicial reform may have been the disruption to residents’ lives referenced in the message.

The organizers provided the relevant phone numbers and directed their followers to make the calls between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.

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One aide told INN that the messages and calls have been incessant and disturbing.

“They haven’t left me alone since morning,” the aide said. “This is my personal number for work, not for being harassed and cursed. What is done in a respectful way could be within the bounds of legitimacy, but there are also harsh messages, and there are aides who are absorbing very difficult messages.”

Many of the victims contacted Yuval Chen, Chief Officer of the Knesset, who is in charge of maintaining order and security within the Knesset and on its grounds. The report said that he advised them to file complaints with the police against their harassers. However, the “concerned citizens” are hiding their caller IDs, making it difficult to find out who they are.

It is also not known who gave the harassment orders and provided the contact information.