110,000 Israelis March to “Defend Democracy and Its Courts” in Largest Protest in a Decade

Sunday, an estimated 110,000 people filled the streets of tel aviv in one of the largest anti-government protests in israel in the past decade. opposition leader yair lapid addressed the crowd, while prime minister benjamin netanyahu’s newly formed coalition was met with harsh criticism. protesters accused him of threatening democratic rule, and of attempting to rein in the judiciary in order to avoid going to jail himself. tal meidan, an interior designer from tel aviv, held a banner portraying prime minister benjamin netanyahu and two ultra-nationalist allies as “the cats trying to take the cream”.

Protest took place three weeks after netanyahu returned to power, and was sparked by the coalition’s far-right elements and its proposed reforms to override the courts. many criticized the coalition for its openly racist, homophobic and anti-palestinian parties from the far-right, and its declaration of “exclusive” jewish rights across all areas of the land, including the occupied palestinian territories. the protest movements were not united, with some focusing on what they saw as an unprecedented attack on the legal system and others on what they saw as an assault on secular life in israel.

Protest was driven by the fear that netanyahu and his party were attempting to override the will of the electorate, despite the fact that a majority of israelis have moved to the right in recent years. yaara ben geraluf, a teacher from jaffa, spoke to the bbc about her concerns for the future of the country, saying “this is a dangerous government,” and citing the potential harm it could cause. netanyahu has accused the protesters of calling for civil war and the destruction of the state, which he says he and his party have never done.


By Evey Lovelace

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