‘We came to fight for democracy and against a military coup’: 200,000 pro-judicial reform protesters gather in Tel Aviv

Anti-reform protesters are “behaving like a little kid in a toy store, not getting what they want,” one demonstrator told World Israel News. 

By World Israel News Staff

Over 200,000 supporters of the proposed judicial reform gathered on Sunday evening in Tel Aviv’s Kaplan Street, until now the main location for the weekly anti-reform protests on Sunday evening.

The demonstration coincided with the reasonableness standard bill’s expected second and third readings in the Knesset as well as several anti-reform protests happening in Jerusalem.

Several pro-reform protesters blocked Tel Aviv’s Ayalon Highway briefly before police removed them, arresting one of them.

Protesters came from all over the country.

“64 mandates are calling for judicial reform,” Elroy Cohen, from Modiin, told World Israel News. “The left doesn’t seem to understand this.”

Yishai Abitbol, from Netanya, slammed the anti-reform protesters for being “sore losers.”

“They’re behaving like a little kid in a toy store, not getting what they want,” he said.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich addressed the crowd, saying he empathized with opponents of the reform, including reservists who announced their intention to abstain from reserve duty. “I know how you feel. I know that such complex moves need to be gradually and with compromise, so we were also willing to give up and compromise on some of the steps in our reform,” he added.

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Education Minister Yoav Kisch warned the audience that capitulating to the opposition would stymie future governmental functioning, leading to the erosion of democracy in Israel. Asserting their resolve, he said that they are “committed to implementing the change we were elected to carry out.”

Protester Gadi Dayan agreed with Kisch’s words. “This is what we voted for,” he told World Israel News.

“I hope they don’t stop the [reasonableness] legislation and that it passes exactly how they planned it, because there’s no better alternative,” Dayan said.

“We came to fight for democracy and against a military coup,” another demonstrator, who asked to remain anonymous, said.

Transport Minister Miri Regev accused Israel’s “elite” of efforts to thwart any reform by silencing and bullying tactics. She emphasized the shared ownership of the state, stating the impending vote in the Knesset aims to strengthen democracy and is just the initial phase of a necessary comprehensive judicial reform.

Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu addressed the rally,  saying, “we say to fans of the Supreme Court, we don’t want your reasonableness. You have intervened with the wrong generation. We love the State of Israel.”

Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli decried the reservists for using their military status for personal advancement. Israel would not bow to “incitement and pressure” from them, he said.