X marks the spot

Tel Aviv names Kaplan protest intersection ‘Democracy Square’

Mayor Ron Huldai says rallying point of anti-judicial overhaul demonstrators is a symbol of fight for common values

Tel Aviv's newly named Democracy Square, July 17, 2023. (Courtesy)
Tel Aviv's newly named Democracy Square, July 17, 2023. (Courtesy)

The Tel Aviv municipality announced Monday that it has renamed a section of Kaplan Street as “Democracy Square,” in honor of the weekly protests at the interchange against the government’s judicial overhaul.

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, who regularly joins the anti-overhaul protests and has spoken at Saturday night rallies, said in a tweet that the decision was made to cement a place for democracy in Israel, and to commemorate the rallies held at the location.

“In the 75th year of the State of Israel, it has became clear, completely contrary to everything we thought, that its democracy is not taken for granted,” he wrote.

“And we are here to remind. Again and again, that Israel has no right to exist as a country, as a society, as an idea — without democracy.”

Huldai said, “At the Kaplan-Begin intersection, and following it throughout the country, one of the most beautiful things that humans know how to do — to fight together for common values — has been happening for 28 weeks.”

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai at the city’s newly named Democracy Square, July 17, 2023. (Courtesy)

The prominence of the intersection as a focal point for anti-government rallies has led to protesters to adopt its shape — roughly like the letter “X” — as a symbol of their movement.

Ever since protests began six months ago, the municipality has received dozens of requests to change the name of Kaplan Street to “Democracy Street,” Channel 12 reported.

But Tel Aviv’s city hall has a rigid policy against renaming streets, so the requests were turned down, the channel said.

However, the intersection had not ever been given an official name and Huldai was reportedly enthusiastic about suggestions it be called “Democracy Square.”

Protesters rallied Saturday evening across Israel for the 28th week in a row of demonstrations against the judicial overhaul, with political tensions ratcheting up as the coalition advances legislation to weaken the courts’ powers.

More than 150,000 people attended the main rally on Kaplan Street, according to data from Crowd Solutions cited by Channel 13 news.

Most Popular
read more: