Jerusalem, Sep 12 (IANS) Tens of thousands of Israelis shouting “Democracy!” and waving the flags took to the streets across the country ahead of a crucial hearing on Tuesday in the Supreme Court on whether to accept the government’s bid to curb its powers.
In Jerusalem, tens of thousands marched to Agranat Square, where the Supreme Court is located, reports Xinhua news agency.
After the rally, the demonstrators plan to march toward the home of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the city, according to a statement released by the organisers.
On Tuesday morning, a panel comprising entire 15 judges of the Supreme Court, will convene for the first time in Israel’s history to discuss eight appeals against a newly passed law that cancels some of their power.
The discussion would be the first of three separate cases related to the legality of the divisive overhaul that is expected to be heard by the Supreme Court in the next few weeks.
Only three ministers in the ruling coalition have stated that they will obey the ruling of the Supreme Court if it holds the law unconstitutional.
Anti-overhaul activists prepare to stage more rallies and marches on Tuesday during the discussion, including a rally of hi-tech entrepreneurs and employees in Ramat HaHayal, a hi-tech hub in eastern Tel Aviv.
Rallies intensified already on Monday morning, with hundreds of demonstrators gathering outside the home of Yariv Levin, Israel’s justice minister and a main architect of the judicial overhaul.
The demonstrators held posters against the overhaul and blocked the vehicle of the minister.
Amidst scuffles involving pushing and shoving, police forcibly removed several protesters.
Six demonstrators were arrested and later released, the police said in a statement.
Netanyahu first presented the overhaul plan in January, stating that the powers of unelected judges needed to be curbed and transferred to parliament, in which he holds a majority.
He is backed by a coalition of far-right and ultra-religious parties.
Opponents of the overhaul maintain that it undermines the rule of law, harms the independence of the courts, and will encourage corruption.
Netanyahu’s plan to reshape the judicial system has thrown the nation into its worst political crisis in years and sparked mass protests, deepening divisions within Israeli society.
It has shaken the economy and triggered a wave of refusals to show up for service by military reservists, including very senior commanders, drawing concerns from the military’s chiefs.
On Monday, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant warned at a security conference outside Tel Aviv that the mass refusals “are endangering the resilience of the nation and the military”.
According to police estimates, about seven million people, out of the 9.656-million population, participated in weekly demonstrations that have been ongoing throughout the country for 36 consecutive weeks.