Tel Aviv-Jaffa Mayor Ron Huldai, proudly unveiled "Democracy Square," a symbolic renaming of the intersection of Kaplan-Givat Hatahmoshet-Menachem Begin. The new name serves as a tribute to the countless demonstrators who have gathered at this location for 28 consecutive weeks, advocating for the democratic principles that lie at the core of the State of Israel.
Huldai explained the motivations behind the decision, stating, "There are two reasons why we decided to rename this intersection 'Democracy Square.' First, in the State of Israel's 75th year, it had become abundantly clear that democracy is not to be taken for granted. We want to remind ourselves of that.
"Second, we want to acknowledge the tireless resolve of those who have gathered here for 28 consecutive weeks in the spirit of democracy. One of the most beautiful and tremendous things humans can do is come together in pursuit of common, unifying values.
"We hope that in the future, years after this threat to our democracy has dissipated, this will serve as a tangible reminder of a period in our nation's history when thousands of people came together with determination and perseverance to fight for the values outlined in our Declaration of Independence - the values that comprise the foundation of the society we want to live in and want our children to thrive in."
In early January, an estimated 80,000 Israelis gathered at Tel Aviv's Habima Square in order to protest the government's plans for reform of Israel's judicial system, after a week of growing tension and harsh rhetoric between the reform's supporters and opposers.
The protest's organizers later said that, according to the estimations, over 100,000 Israelis attended the demonstration at Habima Square. Thousands of people also gathered in Haifa and outside of President Isaac Herzog's residence in Jerusalem, organizers said.
After the central demonstration, about 200 protesters walked on to HaShalom Interchange and tried to move towards the Ayalon Highway, but were stopped by police forces. Smaller groups of protestors had attempted to get around the police blockade and were subsequently restrained by police forces.
Yitzhak Rabin Square to Democracy Square
While Yitzhak Rabin Square had long been a national focal point for gatherings, celebrations, and demonstrations, ongoing infrastructure projects in the area have led to its diminished prominence in recent years.
Meanwhile, "Democracy Square," strategically located near government institutions, a military base, and the city's main entrance, has emerged as a space synonymous with freedom of expression, activism, and democracy.
The square is situated at the intersection of Eliezer Kaplan street, Givat Hatahmoshet Street, and Menachem Begin Road.
In December 2022, a 36-meter-long banner displaying the text of the Declaration of Independence was hung on the city hall building, visually representing the city's dedication to democratic ideals.
A few months later, in March 2023, during Democracy Week, a massive 80-meter-long sign proclaiming "Non-stop Democracy" was spray-painted onto the Shlomo Lahat Promenade.