ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 144

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‘No compromise’: Anti-overhaul protesters rally outside Lapid’s home

‘Democracy! Democracy!’ and ‘We won’t allow a dictatorship,’ protesters chant, responding to reports of emerging agreements in talks

Anti-overhaul activists demonstrate outside the Tel Aviv home of Opposition Leader Yair Lapid, June 6, 2023 (screenshot: Twitter)
Anti-overhaul activists demonstrate outside the Tel Aviv home of Opposition Leader Yair Lapid, June 6, 2023 (screenshot: Twitter)

Activists opposed to the government’s far-reaching plans to overhaul the judiciary demonstrated Tuesday morning outside the Tel Aviv home of one of the politicians most identified with their protest movement: Opposition Leader Yair Lapid.

Videos from the scene showed some 20 activists shouting into megaphones and holding aloft signs demanding no compromise in the ongoing talks between centrist leaders and representatives of the government, who are seeking to come to an agreement on some changes to the judiciary.

“Democracy! Democracy!” they chanted, and “We won’t allow a dictatorship” and “Don’t be a coward! Don’t save the tyrant,” meaning Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“No compromise without a constitution,” read one sign, while another stated, “Compromise means no future,” an allusion to Lapid’s party, Yesh Atid, which translates as “there is a future.”

The protesters were responding to persistent reports that the coalition and opposition have been progressing toward announcing some areas of agreement regarding judicial reform, in what would be the first codified sign of progress in over two months of conversations hosted by the President’s Residence.

In particular, the parties were said to be converging on a set of principles governing the continuation of talks, as well as on limiting judicial review of the “reasonableness” of government decisions and permitting the government to select its own legal advisers, rather than be forced to rely upon the Attorney General’s Office.

Later Tuesday, protesters picketed an event attended by Environmental Protection Minister Idit Silman, during which the Achziv marine nature reserve was expanded. “We’ve also come to the sea with Idit Silman, to remind her that Israel will remain a democracy,” organizers wrote in a tweet.

The movement against the judicial overhaul resumed momentum in recent days amid the signs of an emerging compromise, and after Netanyahu said the contentious plan would return to the legislative agenda after the passage of the state budget.

The judicial overhaul legislation has been frozen since late March, when Netanyahu said he would halt the plans to allow for talks with the opposition under the auspices of President Isaac Herzog.

On Saturday evening, the weekly protests against overhaul enjoyed increased turnout over the previous week, with the rallies also boosted by renewed anger at police over a forceful crackdown on a Friday night protest near Netanyahu’s private residence in Caesarea, and at key overhaul architect Simcha Rothman for snatching a megaphone from a protester following him during a visit to the United States.

On Monday, Israeli activists opposed to the overhaul plans disrupted a speech by Economy Minister Nir Barkat with cries of “shame” during a conference in New York City.

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