Unprecedented Protests Engulf Israel as Supreme Court Powers Curtailed


Unprecedented Protests Engulf Israel as Supreme Court Powers Curtailed

JERUSALEM - Israel finds itself in the grip of a monumental constitutional crisis as protests erupted across the nation following the ratification of a judicial overhaul bill by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's parliament. The controversial amendment, which limits the Supreme Court's ability to void certain government decisions labeled as "unreasonable," passed with a 64-to-0 vote, further fueling tensions and sparking nationwide demonstrations.


The day's events began with dramatic scenes as protesters, firmly opposed to the amendment, chained themselves to posts and blocked roads outside the parliament building. The police responded by forcefully dispersing the demonstrators, leading to multiple arrests. As evening descended, thousands of protesters took to the streets, disrupting highways and engaging in clashes with law enforcement.


While the government maintains that the judicial changes aim to restore balance among branches of government, critics argue that it will undermine the system of checks and balances, potentially leading to abuses of power. These concerns have triggered months of sustained protests, drawing attention not just domestically but also from allies abroad who fear for Israel's democratic principles.


Shortly after the amendment's ratification, political watchdog groups and the centrist opposition leader announced their intention to challenge the law in the Supreme Court, hoping to overturn the legislation.


Despite the unrest, Prime Minister Netanyahu vowed to seek dialogue with the opposition and work toward a comprehensive agreement by the end of November. In his televised remarks, he emphasized the importance of preserving Israel's democracy and ensuring the independence of the courts.


The crisis has widened the schism within Israeli society and has even permeated the military, with reservists refusing to report for duty in protest. Former high-ranking military officials have expressed concern over the potential impact on Israel's war readiness.


As night fell, protesters continued their demonstrations in various cities. In Jerusalem, police cleared a highway near the parliament, employing water cannons to disperse the crowds. In Tel Aviv, mounted police attempted to disperse protesters blocking the main highway, leading to heated confrontations.


The passage of the law also caused economic repercussions, with Tel Aviv's main share indices plunging by up to 2.5%, and the shekel losing value against the dollar.


Opposition leaders have vowed to challenge the amendment, signaling their determination to fight against what they see as an assault on Israel's democratic foundations. Labor federation head, Benny Gantz, warned of a potential general strike if the government implements "unilateral" measures, while opposition leader Yair Lapid vowed to overturn the legislation.


The country stands at a critical juncture, with tensions simmering and the future of its judiciary system in question. As protests continue and legal challenges are mounted, Israel's leadership faces the daunting task of finding common ground to navigate through the constitutional storm.



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