Thousands of women across the country formed human chains Wednesday to mark International Women’s Day and the impact the government’s planned judicial overhaul could have on women’s rights.
Wearing red T-shirts, the women gathered at dozens of meeting points, holding signs with slogans such as “Harming women’s rights — not on our watch.”
In Tel Aviv, several hundred women formed a line along the city’s iconic beachfront promenade.
“We feel that every step of this reform is going to hurt women and take women’s rights back,” Adi Agasi-Shafir told Reuters.
“We are going to be deprived of all the rights and achievements that we managed to get so far. It’s really dangerous and we’re not willing to accept that,” she said.
At a rally in Jerusalem, protester Moran Katzenstein said that International Women’s Day is “supposed to be a happy day that we celebrate our rights, but now we need to protest again.”
“We all wear red and we show that we are drawing a red line and we will not allow this government to harm our rights,” she said.
The government’s plans include enabling itself to override the High Court of Justice if it strikes down laws, and to take control of the panel that selects all judges.
Critics have said the coalition’s proposals will weaken Israel’s democratic character, remove a key element of its checks and balances, and leave minorities unprotected. Supporters have called it a much-needed reform to rein in an activist court.
On Thursday demonstrations were held at locations across the country, part of what organizers called a “day of resistance.”
The day was set to see marches, temporary workplace strikes, the blocking of main thoroughfares, disruption of train services, and rallies outside the homes of top government officials.
Last week, protesters held a “day of disruption” around the country with a flagship rally in Tel Aviv that blocked a key intersection in the city. Police used horse-mounted cops, water cannons, and stun grenades to disperse them. The force came under criticism for treating the protesters roughly, including an officer who hurled a stun grenade into a crowd of people and is now under investigation for his actions.