Two suspects were arrested on Thursday in Tel Aviv, as anti-government protesters attacked Israel’s economy minister Nir Barkat. Meanwhile, organizers estimated 600,000 advocates of judicial reform gathered in Jerusalem.
“March of the Million” participants, some hitting snags when bus drivers canceled their transportation to the rally at the last minute, reportedly arrived on as many as 1,000 buses. Other media outlets estimated the crowds were larger than 200,000.
It is difficult to determine the exact number of people who participate in these mass demonstrations, and so estimates vary, sometimes by a large margin between those with different political agendas. But technology, primarily aerial drone footage, can give a pretty good idea of the size of a demonstration, and such footage from Thursday night showed all the streets throughout the government sector of downtown Jerusalem completely packed with supporters of the current government and its judicial reform:
— Lillian H. Mueller (@lill_the_swiss) April 27, 2023
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who did not make a personal appearance at the gathering, tweeted out his sincere thanks: “I thank the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who came to Jerusalem tonight to support our government. Your passion and patriotism moves me deeply.”
I thank the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who came to Jerusalem tonight to support our government. Your passion and patriotism moves me deeply. pic.twitter.com/F0aC0ETAFd
— Benjamin Netanyahu – בנימין נתניהו (@netanyahu) April 27, 2023
Justice Minister Yariv Levin and Knesset member Simcha Rothman, chairman of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, both addressed the gathering.
“Show me one democracy where legal advisers make decisions instead of the government,” said Levin.
On Twitter, Rothman posted in Hebrew: “The nation of Israel lives! Thanks for coming. The people are sovereign, and the people demand judicial reform.” He concluded by quoting Isaiah 1:27, “Zion will be redeemed with justice.”
Following the attack in Tel Aviv, which sent a police officer to the hospital, Barkat wished the officer a speedy recovery and stated that there was no excuse for violence, which undermines the foundation of democracy.
“Everyone has the right to demonstrate, but no one has the right to act violently,” he said.
With reporting by JNS.
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