Thousands demonstrate in Tel Aviv against new Netanyahu government

Several thousand people took to the streets in Tel Aviv on Saturday evening to protest Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's new government, the country's most right-wing ever. The demonstrators gathered in the centre of the coastal city and then marched loudly through the streets, waving Israeli flags and holding up anti-Netanyahu banners.

"Together with thousands of amazing demonstrators we went out to protest and shout in a clear voice: Our country cannot be destroyed! We will continue to fight for our democracy," Merav Michaeli, leader of the Israeli Labour Party, tweeted.

Netanyahu's new religiously conservative cabinet was sworn in last week, with several ministerial posts given to ultra-nationalists.  The government plans sweeping reforms, from settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank to weakening the power of the judiciary.

The dramatic court reforms of new Justice Minister Yariv Levin were a top concern among protesters. Levin wants to make it possible for a majority in parliament to overrule the Supreme Court's decisions. Levin also wants to change the composition of the body that appoints judges.

"If we don't take to the streets, we will lose our democracy," Hewi Boem, who took part in the demonstration in Tel Aviv, told dpa. She said the new government is criminal and corrupt.

Another participant said it was good that so many took to the streets, "but there are still not enough to stop this criminal government."

A law was specially amended for the leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, Aryeh Deri, so that he can become minister of the interior despite a conviction for tax offences.

Netanyahu, meanwhile, is Israel's longest-serving leader and embroiled in years-long investigations involving fraud, breach of trust and corruption. (dpa) 


Pictured above: People demonstrating against the Israeli government in Tel Aviv on 7 January 2023