Hundreds of Police Rescue Sara Netanyahu From Protesters

The incident late Wednesday at Tel Aviv reflected the divide over a proposed overhaul of Israel’s judiciary.

Abir Sultan/pool via AP, file
Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Israel's prime minister, at Magistrate's Court at Rishon LeZion, on January 23, 2023. Abir Sultan/pool via AP, file

JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Netanyahu and his allies on Thursday denounced as “anarchists” protesters who massed outside a Tel Aviv salon where his wife was getting her hair done — a chaotic end to a day of demonstrations against the government’s plan to overhaul the judiciary.

The incident late Wednesday at Tel Aviv reflected Israel’s divide over the overhaul, seen by opponents as an existential threat to the country. Demonstrators outside the salon chanted, “shame, shame” — but did not try to force their way inside. Hundreds of police were sent to the scene and eventually escorted her into a limousine.

Meanwhile, Mr. Netanyahu and his political partners showed no signs of easing up on a push to pass a series of bills to overhaul Israel’s judiciary. These moves have further inflamed an already deeply riven country and drawn the largest protests in over a decade.

Protest organizers planned more demonstrations Thursday, a day after their self-proclaimed “day of disruption” turned violent at a Tel Aviv rally.

Thursday’s demonstrations at Jerusalem are expected to include speeches by former government ministers and senior security officials. Former top economists, including two former Bank of Israel heads and a Nobel Prize laureate, were set to speak at a conference at Tel Aviv about the economic fallout from the overhaul.

Justice Minister Yariv Levin, one of the architects of the judicial overhaul, said Wednesday night that despite the mounting public outcry, Netanyahu’s government “will not stop the legislation.”

The proposed bills would give politicians and parliament control over judicial appointments, the power to overrule the Supreme Court and the ability to pass laws impervious to judicial review.

Critics of the plan include a growing number of former military brass, academics, economists, and business leaders. They say the changes will erode the country’s delicate system of checks and balances and erode democratic institutions. Mr. Netanyahu and allies say the changes are necessary to rein in the power of unelected judges.

The battle over the judiciary overhaul comes as Mr. Netanyahu’s trial for charges of accepting bribes, fraud and breach of trust drags on. The longtime leader has dismissed the charges against him as part of a “witch hunt” by a biased law-enforcement, judiciary, and press.

The New York Sun

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