Anti-government protesters assaulted outside justice minister’s home
Suspects detained; two demonstrators lightly injured; ‘These are challenging days for Israeli democracy,’ one activist says, vowing to continue fight against judicial upheaval
Police detained three Modiin residents on Thursday on suspicion that they assaulted protesters earlier outside of Justice Minister Yariv Levin’s home in the city.
Police said the suspects — a man and his two sons, aged 17 and 24 — who live near Levin, were taken in for questioning after throwing eggs and physically assaulting people protesting against the government’s planned judicial overhaul, which was announced by Levin earlier this month.
Two protesters were lightly injured in the attack, according to police.
The incident took place outside Levin’s residence, where protesters have been demonstrating regularly for the past week.
Protesters were reportedly seen carrying signs reading: “Yariv Levin — the enemy of democracy” and shouting slogans like: “When you attack the High Court of Justice, the citizens become the protective vest,” “Israel is not a dictatorship” and “Not a judicial reform, a political coup.”
According to the Ynet news site, the suspects threw eggs and harassed the protesters in front of police officers who were at the scene and were detained shortly after.
מודיעין: המשטרה עצרה הבוקר אב ובנו שכניו של שר המשפטים יריב לוין, בחשד שתקפו מפגינים שהקימו מאהל והפגינו מחוץ לביתו של השר. כך זה נראה. @N12News pic.twitter.com/lPFqOa5NVY
— אור רביד | Or Ravid (@OrRavid) January 19, 2023
“These are challenging days for Israeli democracy,” Igal Rambam, one of the attacked protesters, was quoted as saying.
“A criminal government carries out a political coup and at the same time, public spaces are becoming more violent and dangerous for those trying to protest. The violence and the incitement won’t deter us. We will continue to protest every day in front of [Levin’s] home in Modiin and against other members of the criminal government as long as it takes until this coup is stopped,” he added.
Last week, police arrested a driver whose car appeared to veer menacingly toward a group of students holding an anti-government protest in Beersheba. The suspect, a 26-year-old man from the Haredi city of Elad, was arrested for “endangering a protest group” and charged.
Several protests have been held in recent weeks against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hardline government over its sweeping judicial overhaul proposal, while coalition and opposition officials have traded accusations of incitement as rhetoric over the planned reforms reached a fever pitch.
On Saturday, some 80,000 people gathered at Tel Aviv’s Habima Square despite pouring rain to denounce the planned reforms, and organizers vowed to continue holding weekly rallies.
Critics of Levin’s planned reforms, which include top current and former judicial and legal officials as well as Netanyahu’s political rivals, say the changes would put basic civil and minority rights at risk by all but eliminating the top court’s authority to strike down laws and government decisions, and giving the governing majority control of appointing judges — meaning the judiciary could no longer serve as a brake on abuse and excess by the political leadership.
Proponents say the changes are needed to rein in a judiciary undermining the will of the people