Hundreds of thousands of Israelis gathered across Israel on Saturday evening to renew the mass protests against the Israeli government's proposed judicial reform.
In what is the eighth consecutive week of protests, demonstrators took to Tel Aviv's Kaplan Interchange, near the government complex, to voice their concern over moves made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government.
איילון pic.twitter.com/CJ7fmx2kKk— Tomer Appelbaum (@tomerappelbaum) February 25, 2023
In Haifa, protestors marched in their thousands from the Merkaz HaCarmel neighborhood in the northern Israeli city to central Horev, where a demonstration will also take place.
On the Ayalon lane, police arrested seven protesters near the Shalom Interchange.
Police prepare as thousands take to the streets
Police officers were deployed throughout Saturday across Haifa, Israel Police said, in attempts to direct traffic and maintain public order. In Tel Aviv, main roads in and out of the city were blocked.
In addition, the exit and entrance to HaShalom interchange from the north and south Ayalon highways was closed off by police as protestors began to gather.
Labor leader MK Merav Michaeli spoke at a Rehovot gathering, telling demonstrators that Netanyahu's "violence and incitement will only give us more motivation to battle and protest."
Michaeli referenced a Friday night report claiming the prime minister told his cabinet ministers that he wants to "give them a fist to punch" the protestors during a cabinet meeting on Friday.
Netanyahu also reportedly claimed that "the same people who demonstrated against the COVID vaccines are the same people protesting today."
"Ladies and gentlemen, this protest is getting to them, destabilizes them," Michaeli told protestors in Rehovot. "It troubles them, irks them.
"We can get them to back down and we will continue taking to the streets until they will be forced to stop, because we will not let them take our country and our democracy," the former transportation minister concluded.
National Unity MK Gideon Sa'ar said that "this is a weak and short-sighted government and the first anti-Zionist government. In the Knesset in Jerusalem, they still have a majority, but for the people they are a smaller and smaller minority."
Sa'ar also stated that the government's plan is to "subjugate the people."
National Unity head Benny Gantz spoke at a demonstration against the judicial reforms in Haifa and addressed Netanyahu, stating that he should "strike at the enemies of the state and not at the good and loyal citizens of the state."
Opposition Leader and Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid said regarding the current prime minister that "it is time to put an end to your lies. As explained by all the important economists in Israel and the world, you are the one who is destroying the economy, you are the one who is tearing the people apart, you are the one who is inciting violence.
"You are the one who is destroying the economy, you are the one who is tearing the people apart, you are the one who is inciting violence."Yair Lapid
"We will not let you crush Israeli democracy and we have no intention of remaining silent in the face of your poisonous incitement."