For now, the citizens of Israel are opting for peaceful forms of protest against judicial reform, hoping that it will help achieve their goals. Zvi Steingart, coordinator of the Our Voice movement, told Izvestia about this on Monday, July 24.
“Israelis are very free people, but surprisingly not aggressive. Yes, we are loud, noisy, but we are not aggressive. Therefore, at the moment the demonstrations are absolutely peaceful, we choose peaceful forms of protest. We hope that we have enough soft power to achieve our goals such as strikes, refusal to serve in the army, soft pressure on governments,” Steingart shared. However, he noted that at the moment these tools do not work well, because, in his opinion, the government “does not care about the future of this country at all” and it could stop the reform “in one day” without trying to seize power, but does not do this “out of its own interests.” “The reforms consist in the consolidation of power in the hands of the government. They took away this opportunity from those bodies that should carry out judicial supervision. And we understand that if we don’t defend an independent judiciary now, then there will be no one to defend us later,” the activist said. He explained that judicial oversight, for which the protesters are fighting, is the most important tool that protects democracy. Without it, a democratic government turns into some kind of “hybrid autocracy” – with restrictions on freedoms, censorship of the media and the adoption of any laws, if they do not directly go against existing legislation. “Today, we passed in the third reading a law that prohibits the court from using the principle of inadmissibility and applying it to the government and authorities. For example, [the government can] appoint some relative of the prime minister as a minister who has no education. If earlier the Supreme Court could say that such an act is unacceptable and contrary to common sense, now the Supreme Court cannot do this,” explained the coordinator of the Our Voice movement. The fact that the Knesset (parliament) of Israel approved in the final reading the first bill in the framework of judicial reform was reported earlier on July 24. The First Amendments limit the ability of the Supreme Court to influence the decisions of the executive branch, and also allow the government and ministers to control the selection of judges. Against the backdrop of judicial reform since the beginning of the year, protests continue in Israel. So, on July 22, a crowd of protesters came to Jerusalem. The protest march began a few days ago. Then a small group of activists moved from Tel Aviv in the direction of the holy city. Most of the route took place in intense heat, the participants had to move uphill.
On July 23, The Times of Israel reported that about 10,000 Israel Defense Forces reservists would refuse to volunteer for service if judicial reform was advanced. A similar statement was made a day earlier by Israeli Air Force pilots.
On that day, US President Joe Biden said that the Israeli authorities should avoid hasty decisions in the context of judicial reform. According to him, in its current form, the initiative only further divides people and provokes unrest.