Protesters argue with fellow train passengers about overhaul on way to airport rally

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a former political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

Israelis, some of them anti-overhaul protesters, get off the train at Ben Gurion Airport, July 11, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Israelis, some of them anti-overhaul protesters, get off the train at Ben Gurion Airport, July 11, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Packed in standing-room-only trains, passengers begin to argue about the judicial shakeup.

“You think it’s reasonable for judges to overrule elected officials?” says a young pro-overhaul Israeli, in support of the coalition’s latest bill to cancel judicial scrutiny over their decisions.

An anti-overhaul activist, decked out in protest shirt, tells him that the bill is the first step toward “dictatorship.”

A man commuting home interjects to say that the whole package of bills is “personal,” sought by a prime minister who changed his tune on judicial independence after he was indicted for corruption.

“We don’t need you to be a Jewish state, we’ll do just fine without you,” another yells at the visibly religious overhaul supporter, after he says that by protecting LGBTQ rights, the court has done something “not normal.”

“Can democracy exist without violence?” an onlooker carrying an Israeli flag asks his girlfriend. “Democracy is necessary, but we’re tearing ourselves apart,” he adds.

Streaming off the train, hundreds of protesters chant “democracy.”

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