Israeli Protesters Block Highways in ‘Day of Disruption’ Against Judicial Overhaul Plan
Israeli protesters blocked highways and gathered outside Tel Aviv’s stock exchange and military headquarters on Tuesday in the latest countrywide demonstration against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned judicial overhaul.
The latest “day of disruption” came as longtime allies of the prime minister pushed a contentious piece of legislation through a parliamentary committee ahead of a vote expected next week.
Additional protests are planned throughout the day.
Demonstrators, many of them military reservists, created human chains and blocked one of the entrances to the Kirya, Israel’s military headquarters in central Tel Aviv. Outside the Tel Aviv stock exchange, demonstrators ignited smoke bombs, drummed and chanted, and held up signs reading “save our startup nation” and “dictatorship will kill the economy.”
Others demonstrated outside the headquarters of the Histadrut, Israel’s largest labor union, demanding the organization calls for a general strike — a move that could paralyze the country’s economy. Protesters scaled scaffolding outside the building and hoisted reservist protest flags. The labor union had called a strike in March, a move that contributed to Netanyahu freezing the judicial overhaul.
Itai Bar Natan, 48, CFO of an Israeli start-up, said he was angry enough to climb the scaffolding and wave the flag that read “Brothers in arms.”
“This government is totally insane. We are afraid for our democracy, for everything we’ve built — that’s why we are all here fighting,” Natan said. “The settlers in the West Bank, the economy, the corruption — it’s all part of the same thing.”