Backlash to Benjamin Netanyahu’s Israel reforms intensify

Xavier Roger


Israelis opposed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's judicial overhaul plan set up bonfires and block a highway during a protest moments after the Israeli leader fired his defense minister, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, March 26, 2023. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant had called on Netanyahu to freeze the plan, citing deep divisions in the country and turmoil in the military. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg) ORG XMIT: XOB123

Israeli labor unions launched a nationwide strike, malls and ports were closed and airlines were grounded, as opposition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to overhaul the judiciary threatened to impact the nation’s economy.

The chaos came after floods of protestors stormed the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in response to Netanyahu’s abrupt ousting of his defense minister, who had opposed his controversial judicial reform plan. The plan, driven by the country’s new right-wing government, would weaken the role of the Israeli Supreme Court, and intense opposition has sparked what some analysts say is among the country’s worst crises ever.

It was unclear Monday if Netanyahu would respond to pressure to halt his plan. The Biden administration weighed in on Sunday, urging compromise as it said it was “deeply concerned” about democratic values in Israel.


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