‘We won’t allow silence’: Israelis prepare to protest against new government

Demonstrators blocked the intersection next to Azrieli Center and the Ayalon Highway for nearly an hour on Thursday evening in protests against Israel's new government.

 An Israeli holds a sign which says in Hebrew "Netanyahu, we don't abandon LGBTQ's in the field" at a protest outside the Knesset, Israel's parliament, on the day the new right-wing government is sworn in, with Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister, in Jerusalem December 29, 2022. (photo credit: REUTERS/AMMAR AWAD)
An Israeli holds a sign which says in Hebrew "Netanyahu, we don't abandon LGBTQ's in the field" at a protest outside the Knesset, Israel's parliament, on the day the new right-wing government is sworn in, with Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister, in Jerusalem December 29, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMMAR AWAD)

A series of planned protests are now ongoing as demonstrators arrived at the Knesset Thursday to protest the establishment of Israel’s 37th coalition government – a coalition marked by far-right controversy.

The protest convoy that arrived to protest at Israel’s parliament was organized by the group "Civil Order 8 to Save Democracy" together with the Movement for the Quality of Government. 

"We will arrive en masse today and raise a loud voice against those who seek to dismantle democracy, the army, the justice system and promote racism and division with genius,” said the organizers of the protest. “We will arrive in a caravan to the Knesset and send a clear message to the accused and his accomplices - we will not give you a single moment of silence."

For a little over an hour on Thursday evening, the demonstrators blocked the intersection next to Azrieli Center and then moved to block the Ayalon Highway, preventing traffic from passing in both directions. 

 Demonstrators block Ayalon Highway in protest against new government, December 29, 2022 (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV) Demonstrators block Ayalon Highway in protest against new government, December 29, 2022 (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)

“Storm of discrimination”

Meanwhile, a series of officials in the public arena have already voiced their concerns regarding the coalition agreements that were signed yesterday. Prof. Uriel Reichman, the founding president and chairman of the board of directors of Reichman University, addressed the impending "storm of discrimination" yesterday at the opening of the "Education for Democracy and Fundamental Rights" conference of the Rubinstein Center for Constitutional Challenges at Reichman University.

"We are telling everyone today – for us, there will be no discrimination on the basis of religion, race and sex. We will not accept, publicly or in legislation, some kind of acceptance with this kind of discrimination," stressed Reichman. 

Former Justice Minister and Likud senior leader Dan Meridor referred to the new government during a panel discussion on "Policy for Education and Fundamental Rights" with the participation of Prof. Yuli Tamir, former Minister of Education and President of Beit Berel Academic College, and Attorney Dina Zilber, former Deputy Legal Counsel to the government.

Meridor expressed concern about "the danger that the future government poses to Israeli society and democracy,” adding that “We are in a crisis and a threat of darkness that is coming our way.”

Among the harshest critics of the new government is Ehud Barak, the former Prime Minister and Defense Minister. Barak said yesterday in an interview with Radio 103FM. "I am convinced that the State of Israel will get out of this, we don't know how long it will take and what damages there will be along the way,” Barak declared. 

“This government will go down in history as a government of darkness who ruled here for a certain period, tried to collapse the foundations of Israel as a democratic state, and in the end she failed and will bear the mark of Cain,” Barak continued.