The anti-judicial reform protest movements said on Wednesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chose a "war against democracy" after his coalition delayed a vote on the Judicial Selection Committee, but not before allowing opposition MK Karin Elharrar to win a seat in the coveted committee.
The protest movements said that there were "spontaneous calls" for demonstrations on Kaplan Street in Tel Aviv on Wednesday night after the negotiations on the reform collapsed following what as perceived as a "dirty trick" by the prime minister.
"Netanyahu decided to destroy the country - only the public can save Israel from a dark dictatorship," said the protest movements. "Today it became clear that Netanyahu is trying to seize the committee and appoint judges of his liking...we will fight this on every front and come out victorious."
The Brothers in Arms protest movement stated "Netanyahu has removed the mask. He is a puppet of [Justice Minister] Yariv Levin, and the talks at the President's Residence are a smokescreen for the dictatorship on the way. Israel's democracy is in existential danger and as usual, it is the citizens who suffer. The opposition leaders must end the talks now."
The Students Protest movement added "The dirty trick of the government not only postpones the meeting of the committee for the appointment of judges, but also adds to the load in the courts, delays necessary appointments, and harms citizens. Is this the 'fix' the government wants in the justice system? The masks came off. The government is not interested in fixing, only in taking over. We will continue to be the wall that stops the coup."
The roads surrounding the Prime Minister's residence have been blocked off to through traffic due to fears of protests outside of the residence, according to N12 News.
Talks collapse after Judicial Selection Committee vote postponed
On Wednesday afternoon, the coalition decided to withdraw all the candidates except for Tali Gottlieb from the elections for the Judicial Selection Committee and to vote against both Gottlieb and the opposition's candidate, Karin Elharrar, in order to force a repeat vote in another month.
Opposition leaders expressed outrage at the decision, warning that such a decision would lead to the end of talks at the President's Residence concerning the judicial reform, as they said it would go against agreements reached in the talks recently.
The coalition claimed that the opposition was making "ultimatums and excuses" and called for the continuation of negotiations.
Lapid stated ahead of the vote that "Netanyahu has lost control of his government and is captive to the extremists. He crushes Israeli democracy, the economy, security and the unity of the people. He broke his commitment to the president and causes the talks to end."
Labor leader Merav Michaeli stated "the entire time we were aware that Netanyahu is not a partner for talks and agreements. He cheated wherever he could. This is why the Labor faction withdrew from the talks at the President's Residence. It's fake, a conversation with crooks. There is no room for conversations and negotiations with this man. It's time to protest."
MK Gideon Sa'ar stated on Wednesday "Netanyahu completely bowed to the pressure of Levin and Rothman and decided to violate the agreement and thwart the selection of the committee for the selection of judges, blow up the negotiations and return to unilateral legislation. The answer: strengthen the protest!"