Hundreds of people attended a demonstration Saturday night organized by the Zionist Union to express support for the Supreme Court, in light of recent initiatives to strip its authority when it hears petitions while sitting as the High Court of Justice.
Most Zionist Union representatives attended the demonstration, including Labor and Zionist Union chairman Avi Gabbay and Hatnua leader Tzipi Livni. The demonstration was held in front of the Supreme Court building in Jerusalem.
At the end of the demonstration, attendees held hands and formed a human shield around the court.
Speaking at the protest, Gabbay said that the protest was intended to show support for the High Court in light of “attempts to destroy democracy” in Israel.
“We are here to say that all of those who are taking part in this current administration... or those who remain silent and are scared to attend the battle on [shaping] the character of Israel, you are also part of the attempt to destroy democracy.
“History will not forget the fact that you were a part of a government that [called] the police commissioner a criminal, the president a traitor and the Supreme Court justices enemies,” he said.
Gabbay then warned about the potential ramifications of such actions. “These actions are a slippery slope,” he said. “At the end of it are countries such as Turkey and Russia: They seem like democracies; it seems like they have a free press and human rights. This is where they [current administration] want to get to.
“Democracy is lost through ‘salami tactics,’ bit by bit,” he continued.
“We are here to convey a clear message to the government: We will not let you harm it, not with words and not with a D9 [IDF armored tractor],” he said, referring to remarks made by MK Moti Yogev (Bayit Yehudi) in the past.
Protesters held signs that read: “Protecting our democracy,” and, “It is sad to see our country going down.” Some chanted: “Bibi, go home.”
Livni called on liberal supporters of the Likud to object to the legislation. “This is the time for you to tell Netanyahu: Stop here and don’t go ahead with these actions,” she said.
She said that the protest was not only to protect the court but Israeli democracy as well. “The Netanyahu administration is spearheading dangerous initiatives, such as the nation-state bill that erases equality and the override bill that erases the High Court of Justice.
“When initiatives to destroy the Supreme Court will be complete, Israel will stop being a democracy,” she said.