At Tel Aviv protest, chair of Bar Association slams ‘poisonous’ proposed judicial reforms

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

Israelis protest against Benjamin Netanyahu's government, in Tel Aviv, on January 14, 2023. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Israelis protest against Benjamin Netanyahu's government, in Tel Aviv, on January 14, 2023. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Avi Himi, chair of the Israel Bar Association hails the diversity of anti-government protesters at Habima Square in Tel Aviv, united in one goal, “the struggle for Israel’s democracy.”

He warns that the destruction of democracies begins with the disbandment of the judiciary.

Himi says the government’s reforms are “poisonous” to democracy, and compares Israel’s situation to Poland, Hungary, Turkey, and fears one day, Iran. He vows the opposition will not be silenced by water cannons.

Himi pans the government’s complaints that they are unable to govern, and challenges them to show a High Court decision that prevents them from fighting poverty, the high cost of living, and going to war.

“There’s none, there’s no decisions like this,” he says.

Israel Bar Association head Avi Himi speaks during a conference in Tel Aviv, June 29, 2021. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

“[The High Court] prevents you from discriminating against women, LGBTQ people, Arab citizens, secular people, and appointing criminals to ministerial positions.”

Himi calls on Likud lawmakers to not vote for the judicial reforms proposed by Justice Minister Yariv Levin. “History will judge you,” he says.

“There are more important things than your seat, there are more important things than politics. Do not take away the separation of powers. Leave us one branch that is not governed by politics,” Himi says.

“If Netanyahu can’t put the brakes on his extreme partners, us citizens will do it for him,” he adds.

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