Right-wing pro-judicial reform protesters block Ayalon highway

The protests, organized by Likud activists and the Im Tirzu organization, were called the "Freedom March" by participants and organizers.

 Right-wing Israelis attend a rally in support of the government's planned judicial overhaul, in Tel Aviv on March 30, 2023.  (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)
Right-wing Israelis attend a rally in support of the government's planned judicial overhaul, in Tel Aviv on March 30, 2023.
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)

Hundreds of right-wing organizations held pro-judicial reform demonstrations on Thursday evening in Tel Aviv.

Two protesters were arrested on Ammunition Hill Rd. in Tel Aviv during the demonstrations, according to Israel police. 

Israel police reported at approximately 8:30 p.m. that the Ayalon highway northbound from the Kibbutz Galuiot interchange to the HaShalom interchange was blocked to traffic due to the protests. About 90 minutes later, they reported that the highway had been reopened to traffic. 

The protests, organized by Likud activists and the Im Tirzu organization, were called the "Freedom March" by participants and organizers. Demonstrators are expected to be shuttled around the country and hold a number of rallies in different locations throughout the evening. 

Israel police released a statement on Thursday morning ahead of the demonstrations, explaining that road blockades will be marked on the Waze navigation app, and that citizens should expect heavy traffic in central Tel Aviv. 

  Right-wing Israelis attend a rally in support of the government's planned judicial overhaul, in Tel Aviv on March 30, 2023.  (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV) Right-wing Israelis attend a rally in support of the government's planned judicial overhaul, in Tel Aviv on March 30, 2023. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)

Israeli Justice Minister Yariv Levin, a primary figure in the government's efforts to enact judicial reforms, wrote in a statement on social media as the demonstrations began.

"The pictures of masses of citizens going out and demonstrating in favor of the judicial reform gives me strength and warms my heart. I call on you all - make your voice heard at the Freedom March today at 7 p.m. at the Tel Aviv Museum. Do not be dragged into provocations and avoid violence. Our justice and truth are stronger than anything!"

Recent pro-reform protests

These demonstrations follow a large-scale right-wing demonstration held in Jerusalem in front of the Knesset on Monday. 

Right-wing groups including Regavim, Im Tirzu, Ad Kan, Bezalmo and Torat Lehima, organized Monday's protest in response to the protest against the judicial reform and the coalition held in front of the Knesset earlier in the day. The extremist La Familia group also took part in the protest.

Advertisements for the protest published online stated that the Right is in an "emergency situation," warning that "they will not steal the elections from us."

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir shared the advertisement on Twitter writing "today we stop being silent. Today is the day the Right wakes up. Share it forward."

Tzvi Joffre and Maariv Online contributed to this report.