ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 147

search

Hundreds of protesters outside as Netanyahu extols Jewish unity at Mimouna event

Hadera residents say they were kicked out of celebration because they aren’t Likud members; in first, Mimouna festivities also held at the Knesset

Michael Horovitz is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel

  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyau and his wife Sara attend the Jewish Maroccan celebration of Mimuna, in Hadera on April 12, 2023. (Rami Shllush/POOL)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyau and his wife Sara attend the Jewish Maroccan celebration of Mimuna, in Hadera on April 12, 2023. (Rami Shllush/POOL)
  • Israelis who oppose the government's planned judicial overhaul protest outside a Mimuna event attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyau and his wife Sara, in Hadera on April 12, 2023. (Flash90)
    Israelis who oppose the government's planned judicial overhaul protest outside a Mimuna event attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyau and his wife Sara, in Hadera on April 12, 2023. (Flash90)
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara Netanyahu, attend a Mimouna celebration in the coastal city of Hadera, April 12, 2023 (Kobi Alkotzer, GPO)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara Netanyahu, attend a Mimouna celebration in the coastal city of Hadera, April 12, 2023 (Kobi Alkotzer, GPO)
  • Israelis who oppose the government's planned judicial overhaul protest outside a Mimuna event attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyau and his wife Sara, in Hadera on April 12, 2023. (Flash90)
    Israelis who oppose the government's planned judicial overhaul protest outside a Mimuna event attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyau and his wife Sara, in Hadera on April 12, 2023. (Flash90)

Protesters against the coalition’s judicial overhaul plans demonstrated Wednesday evening outside a Mimouna event attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara in the northern city of Hadera.

Demonstrators waved Israeli flags, and some blocked the road outside of the community center where the celebration was held but were cleared away by mounted police.

Dozens of right-wing supporters of the government’s proposals also showed up to support the premier and were kept apart from the anti-government protesters by police.

Mimouna, a North African Jewish holiday marking the end of Passover, features large gatherings hosted in peoples’ homes.

Politicians like to attend the festivities to rub shoulders with their supporters.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been holding weekly mass protests around the country against the government’s highly divisive efforts to weaken the judicial system, with demonstrations continuing even after the coalition paused the legislation late last month to allow dialogue.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyau and his wife Sara attend the Jewish Maroccan celebration of Mimuna, in Hadera on April 12, 2023. (Rami Shllush/POOL)

Dalit and Ronen, residents of the Hadera neighborhood where the celebration took place, said they were invited to the event but were removed after it emerged that they were not members of Netanyahu’s Likud party.

“We sat down, then suddenly people approached us and asked, ‘Are you Likud members?’ We said ‘no,’ then after a few minutes, they kicked us out,” Ronen said.

Ronen and Galit, residents of the Hadera neighborhood where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended a Mimouna celebration on April 12, 2023, who said they were invited to the event but were removed after it emerged that they were not members of Netanyahu’s Likud party.(via twitter; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Ronen stated that he had lived in the neighborhood for 30 years, and said the incident was “unbelievable.”

“I really want to cry,” Dalit added.

Israelis who oppose the government’s planned judicial overhaul protest outside a Mimuna event attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyau and his wife Sara, in Hadera on April 12, 2023. (Flash90)

Meanwhile, inside the center, Netanyahu gave a speech stressing the power of unity among the Jewish people.

“When we are united, there is no power in the world that can stand against us. We are fighting against Iranians, in Syria, in Lebanon, Gaza, and also yesterday in Judea and Samaria,” he said, using the biblical name for the West Bank. “I take my hat off to IDF soldiers. We will settle the score with all our enemies,” he added.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara Netanyahu, attend a Mimouna celebration in the coastal city of Hadera, April 12, 2023 (Kobi Alkotzer, GPO)

“We will overcome all divisions. We know what we paid when we were divided during the birth of our nation when there was the Kingdom of Judah, and then the Kingdom of Israel. After that, neither stood,” he said, referencing a deep rift in the Jewish people during the time of the Bible.

“I have complete faith in the future of Israel,” Netanyahu said.

The coalition’s proposals aim to weaken the court’s ability to serve as a check on the executive, which already controls parliament, while also handing the government control over the appointment of practically all judges, including in the Supreme Court.

Critics say the plans will politicize the court, remove key checks on governmental power and cause grievous harm to Israel’s democratic character. Proponents of the measures say they will rein in a judiciary that they argue has overstepped its bounds.

Israelis who oppose the government’s planned judicial overhaul protest outside a Mimuna event attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyau and his wife Sara, in Hadera on April 12, 2023. (Flash90)

Netanyahu paused the legislative push late last month to allow for talks on a compromise deal, but many in the opposition say they suspect the government is insincere in its attempts to reach a deal.

Meanwhile, for the first time in history, Mimouna festivities were also held on Wednesday evening at the Knesset.

“You can see here politicians from all the political parties, citizens of Israel from all communities, from everywhere in the country, and that is the message. The Knesset is the home of every citizen of Israel, and it’s open to everyone,” Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana told Kan.

read more:
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed
image
Register for free
and continue reading
Registering also lets you comment on articles and helps us improve your experience. It takes just a few seconds.
Already registered? Enter your email to sign in.
Please use the following structure: example@domain.com
Or Continue with
By registering you agree to the terms and conditions. Once registered, you’ll receive our Daily Edition email for free.
Register to continue
Or Continue with
Log in to continue
Sign in or Register
Or Continue with
check your email
Check your email
We sent an email to you at .
It has a link that will sign you in.