Tens of thousands of Israelis gathered Saturday night for a fourth straight week, demonstrating in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and elsewhere around the country against the country’s new government and its planned reforms.
Two protests were held in Tel Aviv: one organized and hosted at Habima Square by the Movement for Quality Government, and the second held on Kaplan Street by a coalition of anti-government groups.
A third demonstration was held in Caesarea outside the home of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Another was held outside the official residence of President Isaac Herzog in Jerusalem.
Protests were also held in Be’er Sheva, Haifa and other cities as well.
Several of the demonstrations held a moment of silence in deference to the deaths of seven Jewish Israelis murdered by a 21-year-old Arab terrorist in the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Neve Yaakov.
Three others were wounded in that attack; two other Israeli Jews were shot and moderately injured in a second attack by a 13-year-old Arab terrorist in Jerusalem’s City of David neighborhood.
But the anti-government protesters were undeterred from holding their demonstrations despite the deadly attacks on Israelis less than a day earlier, continuing to criticize Justice Minister Yariv Levin and his plan to reform Israel’s judicial system, including the Supreme Court.
Former MK Collette Avital joined a list of leftists to lead the protest at Habima Square. “Jewish yes. Halachic state, no. Democracy, yes. Autocracy, no,” she said.
Former defense minister and IDF chief of staff Moshe Ya’alon led the protest on Kaplan Street in Tel Aviv, declaring his belief that National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir is unqualified to be responsible for Israel’s police forces. “I have one demand of the government,” he said, “don’t get in their way.”
In Jerusalem, opposition leader and Yesh Atid party chair Yair Lapid lit a memorial candle at one of the protests.
“We came here to Jerusalem to remind everyone that we are one people,” he said. “We stand as one front against terror.” But Lapid then added,” The government needs to decide if it wants to fight against terror or against Israeli democracy,” implying that reform of the country’s long-broken justice system is an attack on the country’s democratic system.
The protests came as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was holding an emergency meeting of Israel’s political-security cabinet following two bloody terrorist attacks that had taken place less than 24 hours earlier, killing seven and wounding five more in two Jerusalem neighborhoods.