Hundreds demonstrate in Tel Aviv after Netanyahu blames opposition for terrorism

Smaller rallies also held elsewhere as protest group assails PM for ‘pointing the finger’ at others for security situation; 2 arrested on suspicion of public disorder

Protesters in Tel Aviv, April 10, 2023 (Roee Goldstein Facebook screenshot; used in accordance with Clause 27a ofthe copyright law)
Protesters in Tel Aviv, April 10, 2023 (Roee Goldstein Facebook screenshot; used in accordance with Clause 27a ofthe copyright law)

Hundreds of protesters rallied in Tel Aviv Monday evening after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a press conference in which he blamed the opposition and critics of his government’s contentious judicial overhaul for a recent spate of terror attacks.

In his remarks, Netanyahu also said he was reinstating Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who was on the chopping block for publicly urging a halt to the planned shakeup of the judiciary. Netanyahu’s announcement of Gallant’s firing two weeks ago was met with major protests and a general strike, leading the premier to pause the judicial legislation.

“Instead of taking responsibility for the recent incidents and offering solutions to improve the situation, [Netanyahu] decided to point the finger. This is not leadership but cowardice and weakness,” the Students Protest group said in a statement. “We’ll continue to go out and protest for our future here, a future in which the wellbeing of the citizens is of utmost importance.”

Due to the demonstration in Tel Aviv, police closed a number of roads around Kaplan Street, where the mass protests against the planned shakeup of the judicial system have been centered.

According to the Ynet news site, police declared the protesters were holding an illegal demonstration, to which they responded, “There is no such thing as an illegal demonstration.”

Some of the protesters ran onto the Ayalon Highway and briefly blocked northbound traffic after evading police barricades.

Police said two people were arrested in Tel Aviv on suspicion of disturbing public order, without elaborating.

Smaller rallies were also held at several other locations across the country, including in Haifa and Karkur.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been demonstrating for months throughout the country against the government’s efforts to hamstring the judicial system and transfer power to the executive branch. The protests have continued despite the coalition’s decision to temporarily pause the overhaul legislation after Netanyahu fired Gallant, who warned about the security implications of the proposals and called for a halt to allow for talks.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds a press conference at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv on April 10, 2023. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Netanyahu has indicated the “timeout” would last until the Knesset’s next session, beginning April 30, meaning the pause will mostly take place when parliament would be in recess anyway.

But he stressed the overhaul would end up passing “one way or another,” and the “lost balance” between the branches of government would be restored. “We will not give up on the path for which we were elected,” he vowed.

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