An estimated 200,000 to 300,000 supporters of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s judicial reform gathered on Kaplan Street in Tel Aviv on Sunday evening for the “March of the Million.”
Anti-government anarchists have been holding weekly rallies and demonstrations there for more than six months, but members of the right-wing camp dominated the square on Sunday.
הפגנת הימין – קפלן תל אביב
הסרטתי סרטון קצר למי שלא הצליח להגיע על מנת שיבין אילו אנרגיות עצומות היו בהפגנת המיליון שנערכה בתאריך 23-7-23 בקפלן תל אביב.
תודה לכל מי שהגיע !!! pic.twitter.com/UZdoxKSJeo
— אבי מלכי (@Avi_Malki) July 24, 2023
The mass demonstration came as the Knesset introduced a heavily-debated bill that would restrict the Supreme Court’s use of the so-called “reasonableness” standard. This legislation would eliminate “reasonableness” as a justification for judges to overturn decisions by the Cabinet, ministers and “other elected officials as determined by law.”
Supporters of the reform traveled to Tel Aviv in chartered buses from more than 100 locations across the country. Videos shared on social media showed thousands arriving by train, belying opposition claims that Israelis were united against judicial reform.
“In the last six months we have practically accepted a coup d’etat in the State of Israel, including a military rebellion in the Israel Defense Forces,” said Likud lawmaker David Amsalem.
Demonstration in Jerusalem
At the same time, anti-reform demos took place again in Jerusalem.
מול הכנסת, ירושלים pic.twitter.com/u0OPLYJRh8
— Yoav Zehavi יואב זהבי يوآف زهافي (@Yoav__Zehavi) July 23, 2023
Thousands of opponents of reform had moved to the Israeli capital the night before. Many of the protesters marched the 40 miles from Tel Aviv, with others joining along the way. The protesters pitched their tents in Sacher Park near the Knesset, Supreme Court and other state institutions.
A particularly moving scene took place at the Jerusalem train station when opponents of reform and supporters of reform ran into each other on an escalator. At the end of the day, the anti-reformists were on their way back to Tel Aviv after the demonstration, while the Tel Aviv supporters were returning to Jerusalem. Video shows some of the protesters shaking hands in a friendly manner as they rolled in opposite directions.
Both sides waved Israeli flags on the way to the respective demonstrations, both of which purport to be saving the state from dictatorship.
Economy goes on strike
Some 150 of Israel’s largest companies announced a strike for Monday, during which some banks, shopping malls and gas stations will remain closed and some companies will work on a reduced scale.
The Histadrut, Israel’s largest labor union, could also join the strike. When the powerful union announced a strike at the end of March, Prime Minister Netanyahu put judicial reform on hold. The traditionally left-wing union is under intense pressure from within to throw its weight behind opponents of reform, but so far it has not announced any moves.
Fraternal hatred destroyed the Temple
The vote on reform in the Knesset and the worsening situation in the country comes at a very opportune time, as Thursday marks the commemoration of the destruction of the temples in Jerusalem.
Tisha B’Av is a very sad day when Jews fast and sit on the floor in the synagogue while lamenting the fate of Jerusalem, the Temple and the Jewish people.
The sages explained that the Temple was destroyed due to hatred within the people, and we know that during the Roman siege of Jerusalem there were different Jewish factions in the city fighting each other. This eventually led to the destruction of the Temple, the city, and the long exile in which the Jewish people remain.
It looks the same today. As little Israel is besieged by enemies from all sides, the different factions in the country fight each other. Israel’s enemies rub their hands at the sight of the internal strife and plot to exploit it to destroy the nation.
It is to be hoped that Israel has learned from its history and will be able to settle its differences peacefully.
Israel Today continues to cover this and other issues in real time on our Telegram channel – Join the conversation!
Israel Today Membership
Save 18% Per Month.
Six Months Membership
Save 9% Per Month.