1690143787 Israel in turmoil on eve of Netanyahu governments vote on

Israel in turmoil on eve of Netanyahu government’s vote on judicial reform

Opponents of the government's desired reform of the Supreme Court arrive in Jerusalem on July 23, 2023 after a multi-day march across the country in front of Israel's parliament. Opponents of the government’s desired reform of the Supreme Court arrive in Jerusalem on July 23, 2023 after a multi-day march across the country in front of Israel’s parliament. OHAD ZWIGENBERG v AP

Pale under a heavy layer of makeup, Benyamin Netanyahu stands alone in front of the camera in an office at Tel Aviv’s Sheba Hospital. Doctors just implanted a pacemaker in him on Sunday, July 23. The Israeli prime minister had diagnosed heart failure the night before after an initial hospital stay a week ago. He smiles, wants to be reassuring and promises that on Monday 24 July he will be in Parliament for the vote on the first part of his judicial reform, which aims to tip the balance of power in favor of the executive.

This vote is a chasm on the brink of which the Jewish state sits as never before since its inception. Shortly before, Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi reiterated in a letter to the soldiers that Israel “will not exist”.[it] “More than one country in this region” if the army continues to crumble in the tremors of reform. Thousands of reservists, including about 500 pilots and more than 1,000 intelligence officials, announced over the weekend that they would stop volunteering for a “people’s army” that depends entirely on them for its proper functioning, some immediately, others if the law were passed on Monday.

An army spokesman admitted that if this movement continues, the army’s responsiveness will fall[it] damaged over time, and it could be major damage.” On Saturday afternoon, July 22, a human flood entered Jerusalem after a four-day march from Tel Aviv and the coastal plain. These tens of thousands of protesters want to force Mr Netanyahu to bury the reform that many of them have been protesting every week since January. For the start of the march on Tuesday evening, July 18, organizers had gathered only a few dozen people.

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They compare their initiative to the “Salt March” launched by Mahatma Ghandi in 1930 to wrest India’s independence from the British crown. They also commemorate the marches of Martin Luther King and the American civil rights movement. Others have joined them, many graying heads, but also families, in a heat that here and there hits 40°C. Some camped in villages. Volunteers were waiting for them on Highway No. 1 to distribute water, lots of water, food and flags.

A general strike is being considered

These lucky wanderers have no illusions: it will not be another rally that will topple Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition. Even if the organizers announced a record presence at the demonstrations across the country on Saturday evening: 220,000 people in Tel Aviv, more than 500,000 across the country. But symbols count in democracy, and they had to move the processions from the coast, largely convinced of their cause, to the Holy City, where the open-air cracks of the country are sprawled, where religious Israelis, seculars and Palestinians live without claiming to live together in any way. “If this law is passed, the Israeli government will find that it can legislate and embody power, it has no country, it has no people, it has no army, it has no police – it has nothing,” said one of the initiators of this march, Shikma Bressler, a physicist at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

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