The Times of Israel liveblogged Saturday’s events as they unfolded.

Anti-overhaul protesters block road outside home of Knesset speaker

Protesters against the government’s judicial overhaul have blocked Yigal Alon Road after rallying outside the home of Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana.

Police say a protester also threw a smoke grenade at policemen during the rally outside Ohana’s residence.

Protester detained outside home of Knesset speaker for allegedly attacking cop

Police declare a rally outside the Tel Aviv home of Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana illegal and arrest a protester suspected of attacking an officer.

Police say demonstrators violated their instructions to remain 300 meters from the residence.

Head of pre-army academy calls for release of Dawabshe family murder

Rabbi Tzvi Kostiner, who heads a pre-army academy for religious recruits, calls for the release of Amiram Ben Uliel, who killed three members of a Palestinian family in 2015.

Amiram Ben Uliel was sentenced to three life sentences plus 20 years for the deadly firebombing in the West Bank village of Duma in which Riham and Saad Dawabshe were killed along with their 18-month-old son, Ali Saad. Only the couple’s eldest son, Ahmed, survived, with terrible burns; he was 5 years old at the time.

Kostiner says “he did nothing wrong” and urges authorities to release him from solitary confinement and hopes for his release as soon as possible.

The remarks are slammed by Labor party chair Merav Michaeli, who tweets: “This is what supporters of Jewish terror look like.”

Michaeli calls on Defense Minister Yoav Gallant to cut off the partnership between the IDF and Kostiner’s academy as long as he heads it.

“An inciteful person full of poison that already called for students to refuse to serve with women in the IDF. [He] acts against the LGBT community and pride parades in the city. A person whose institution is fairly funded by the State of Israel,” she wrote.

IDF informs terrorist’s family their home is set for demolition

The Israeli military informs the family of Khaled Mustafa Sabah, one of two Hamas terrorists who carried out a deadly shooting attack at a West Bank gas station in June, that their home is slated for demolition.

On June 20, Sabah and Muhannad Faleh Shehadeh opened fire at diners at a hummus restaurant and at motorists at an adjacent gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, killing four Israelis and wounding four others.

Shehadeh was shot dead at the scene by an armed civilian, while Sabah fled in a car stolen from the gas station, and was killed some two hours later by special forces.

The Israel Defense Forces measured both their homes in the West Bank town of Urif a day after the attack, in the first step before a potential demolition.

Sabah’s family on Friday was formally notified of the military’s intention to raze their home, the IDF says.

As a matter of policy, Israel regularly demolishes the homes of Palestinians accused of carrying out deadly terror attacks.

Sabah’s family can still appeal the decision to raze the home to Israel’s High Court of Justice. But such attempts rarely succeed, though in some cases the court can limit the demolition order to only the parts of the house used by the terrorist.

Protesters rally outside Knesset speaker’s home after main rally in Tel Aviv

Protesters against the government’s judicial overhaul march from the main rally in Kaplan Street in Tel Aviv to the nearby home of Knesset speaker Amir Ohana.

Footage shows demonstrators chanting “we are not afraid,” waving flags and blowing horns outside Ohana’s residence.

Demonstrators have hounded coalition lawmakers at various locations as part of their activities against the overhaul.

Ex-general tearfully urges Likud ministers to ‘be brave’ and oppose overhaul

Former general Amiram Levin speaks during a protest against the government's judicial overhaul, in Tel Aviv, on August 12, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Former general Amiram Levin speaks during a protest against the government's judicial overhaul, in Tel Aviv, on August 12, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Retired general Amiram Levin makes a tearful plea to Likud ministers to “be brave” and oppose the coalition’s judicial overhaul legislation while addressing protesters in Tel Aviv.

Levin, who at various times headed the IDF Northern Command, commanded Sayeret Matkal, and served as deputy director of the Mossad spy agency, accuses Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of wanting to hand the country over to criminals.

“Bibi wants to give the keys to the country to a group of awful ministers, some of whom are convicted criminals and draft dodgers,” Levin says. “To ministers who encourage massacring Palestinians subject to our rule, to a racist minister that loots the state budget and blocks funds for Arabs, just because they are Arab. To a justice minister that wants one authority and no independent judiciary.”

“We won’t let Bibi and his group of ministers turn Israel into a dictatorship. We won’t allow it and won’t stay silent until we win,” he adds, using the prime minister’s nickname.

Levin issues a direct plea to some Likud ministers: “I turn now to [Defense Minister] Yoav Gallant. When you think about the security of Israel, think about your friend Yossi Kurkin that fell in battle. Who would you want to go to war? His successors, or the draft dodging gang of [National Security Minister Itamar] Ben Gvir, [Finance Minister Bezalel] Smotrich, and [Housing and Construction Minister Yitzhak] Goldknopf?”

Levin also calls for Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter to remember his friends who fell in battle, asking: “Who will you choose as your partner in building a better future in your beloved country? Their successors, or in the gang of lawbreakers and warmongers who evaded the IDF in every way?”

Finally, he gives a similar proposition to Economy Minister Nir Barkat, asking if he prefers to continue the way of former paratrooper commanders, “or would you prefer a group who discriminates against women, the LGBT community, and throws rocks at IDF soldiers?”

“I call to you from here, this is the battle of our lives, but this is also the opportunity of our lives — be brave. Here and all across Israel you will find hundreds of thousands of those succeeding yours and our friends,” he says.

103,000 at Tel Aviv rally, thousands at smaller protests across country

Tens of thousands are protesting nationwide against the government’s judicial overhaul, according to reports.

As of 8:45 p.m., 103,000 are demonstrating at the central rally in Tel Aviv, while thousands of others protest at junctions and cities across the country, according to Channel 13 news, which cites data from the CrowdSolutions firm.

At the central rally at Kaplan Street, police arrest three Palestinians, aged 16, 20 and 25, who unlawfully entered Israel.

The three are residents of the West Bank village of Aqraba, police say.

Last week, rallies were toned down after Tel Aviv municipal security officer Chen Amir, 42, was shot and killed by a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group who also crossed into Israel illegally.

Protest leader: ‘Everyone of us understands that the time to fight is now’

Prof. Shikma Bressler speaks during a protest against the government's judicial overhaul plans, in Tel Aviv, on August 12, 2023. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Prof. Shikma Bressler speaks during a protest against the government's judicial overhaul plans, in Tel Aviv, on August 12, 2023. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Anti-overhaul protest leader Prof. Shikma Bressler tells demonstrators in Tel Aviv that despite the Knesset break, the threat of the coalition’s plans still looms.

“The Knesset may be on a break but the coup continues at full strength. In the crosshairs is anyone that doesn’t fall in line with the rebellion declared by [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, led by the fascists, and with the support of the corrupt against the rule of law, on the state, and on us,” Bressler says.

“Everyone of us understands that the time to fight is now,” she adds.

Bressler gives her backing to police volunteers and military reservists protesting the overhaul, and three women in top positions — Michal Rosenbaum, director of the Companies Authority; Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara; and Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut — who have all faced attacks from government members.



PM: Deal that doesn’t halt Iran’s nuclear program just grants money for terror

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reasserts Israel’s opposition to any arrangement that doesn’t completely halt the Iranian nuclear program, in response to reports that a tentative prisoner swap agreement between Iran and the United States could facilitate a return to the 2015 nuclear deal.

“Israel’s position is known. According to it, arrangements that don’t disassemble Iran’s nuclear infrastructure won’t stop their nuclear program and only grants them money that will go to Iran’s terror proxies,” the Prime Minister’s office said in a statement.

Officials believe that Iran has slowed its enrichment of nearly weapons-grade uranium and reduced a small amount of its stockpile, according to a Wall Street Journal report Friday, a day after Tehran said it had reached a tentative agreement with Washington that will eventually see five detained Americans in Iran and an unknown number of Iranians imprisoned in the US released from custody.

Two senior Israeli defense officials told The New York Times Thursday the prisoner deal stems from agreements worked out between the US and Iran during indirect talks in Oman.

The prisoner agreement could also facilitate further diplomacy between the two countries, as the Biden administration looks to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, the report said.

Police work to clear anti-overhaul protesters blocking Karkur Junction in north

Thousands of protesters against the government’s judicial overhaul plans are intermittently blocking the Karkur Junction in northern Israel.

Protesters light flares, as police work to remove them from the road, the Ynet news site reports.

Lapid: A government that doesn’t obey the court is an illegal government

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid party, marches with protesters at Kaplan Street in Tel Aviv.

“We come to Kaplan today to say that a government that doesn’t obey the court, that doesn’t obey the law, is an illegal government,” Lapid tweets.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to commit to honoring a theoretical High Court decision striking down the “reasonableness” law — which bars judicial review of government and ministerial decisions on the grounds of their reasonableness — raising concerns of a constitutional crisis.

In an unprecedented move, all 15 judges of the High Court will rule on the law in September, setting up a showdown between the judiciary and government.

6-year-old girl killed after car flips over in south

A six-year-old girl dies and two are injured after a car overturns on Route 90 near Kibbutz Elifaz in southern Israel, the Walla news site reports.

Paramedics who arrive on the scene declare the victim dead on the scene.

Police open an investigation into the incident.

Protesters plan ‘complete paralysis’ of country if government ignores court rulings

Protesters are preparing to completely shut down the country if the government does not respect a High Court of Justice ruling on the “reasonableness” law or recusal law.

The anti-overhaul protesters “are prepared for a complete paralysis of the country, based on a general strike of the economy without a time limit,” a source within the protest movement tells the Ynet news site.

“Many important sectors in the economy have already joined the plan,” the source says.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to commit to honoring a theoretical High Court decision striking down the “reasonableness” law — which bars judicial review of government and ministerial decisions on the grounds of their reasonableness — raising concerns of a constitutional crisis.

The recusal law explicitly blocks the top court from ordering a prime minister to take a leave of absence and is widely seen as a reaction to fears that the High Court could force Netanyahu to step down, due to the potential conflict of interest created by him overseeing his coalition’s bid to dramatically overhaul the judiciary while he is himself on trial for multiple corruption charges.

Both laws will be ruled on in September, setting up a showdown between the judiciary and government.

US, EU warns shippers to avoid Iranian waters over seizure threats

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Western-backed maritime forces in the Middle East warn shippers traveling through the strategic Strait of Hormuz to stay as far away from Iranian territorial waters as possible to avoid being seized, a stark advisory amid heightened tensions between Iran and the United States.

A similar warning went out to shippers earlier this year ahead of Iran seizing two tankers traveling near the strait, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which 20 percent of the world’s oil passes.

While Iran and the US are near an apparent deal that would see billions of Iranian assets held in South Korea unfrozen in exchange for the release of five Iranian Americans detained in Tehran, the warning shows that the tensions remain high at sea. Already, the US is exploring plans to put armed troops on commercial ships in the strait to deter Iran amid a buildup of troops, ships, and aircraft in the region.

US Navy Cmdr. Timothy Hawkins, a spokesman for the Mideast-based 5th Fleet, acknowledges the warning has been given, but declined to discuss specifics about it.

A US-backed maritime group called the International Maritime Security Construct “is notifying regional mariners of appropriate precautions to minimize the risk of seizure based on current regional tensions, which we seek to de-escalate,” Hawkins says. “Vessels are being advised to transit as far away from Iranian territorial waters as possible.”

Separately, a European Union-led maritime organization watching shipping in the strait has “warned of a possibility of an attack on a merchant vessel of unknown flag in the Strait of Hormuz in the next 12 to 72 hours,” says private intelligence firm Ambrey.

6 dead after migrant boat capsizes in English Channel

LONDON — An overloaded boat carrying migrants capsizes before dawn Saturday in the English Channel, killing at least six people and leaving more than 50 others to be rescued, according to French authorities.

About 65 people are estimated to have boarded the boat and two people may still be lost at sea, the Maritime Prefecture of the Channel and the North Sea said.

When rescuers pluck people from the waters, six are initially in critical condition. One of those, who is flown by helicopter to a Calais hospital, is pronounced dead and the other five later perish and are ferried to shore.

“This morning, a migrant boat capsized off Calais,” French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne says on social media. “My thoughts are with the victims.”

The deaths come as Britain’s ruling Conservative party has sought to stop crossings of small, often unseaworthy, boats with a variety of policies that have come under fire for failing to stem the flow of migrants.

Protesters gather for Saturday night rallies against judicial overhaul

Protesters begin gathering at sites across the country for the 32nd week of protests against the government’s judicial overhaul.

Police block roads around Kaplan Street in Tel Aviv, where people are gathering for the main rally set to take place at 8 p.m.

Speakers at Kaplan are set to include IDF reserve general Amiram Levin, education and social activist Soundous Alhout, and journalist Or-ly Barlev, in addition to protest leader Shikma Bressler.

The Ynet news site reported that thousands are marching through Haifa to Horev Junction, where a rally is set to take place at 7:30 p.m.

Some 1,000 demonstrators are protesting at Karkur Junction in northern Israel, and hundreds at HaOgen Junction in central Israel.

Netanyahu indicated on Sunday that his government will move ahead with changing the makeup of the Judicial Selection Committee, the most far-reaching and controversial measure in the judicial shakeup package. He intimated that he was still seeking consensus on this. After that, he said, he would shelve the rest of the judicial overhaul plan.

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