The protests against the government’s plans for judicial reform continued across Israel for the 21st week in a row on Saturday evening, as some 235,000 Israelis turned out for anti-government demonstrations, as per organizers’ estimations.
The first demonstrations of the day began in Gedera, HaGoma junction, Drorim bridge and Ketura.
Demonstrations were held over a hundred towns, squares and junctions throughout the country. The central demonstration was again held on Tel Aviv’s Kaplan Street.
Main speakers on Kaplan Street included former defense minister and chief of staff Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon, protest organizer Shikma Bressler, chairman of the Havruta – Religious LGBTQ+ Association Shay Bramson, Dr. Rina Anati and Noam Lanir.
The weekly march began at HaBima Square in Tel Aviv at 7:00 p.m., while the speeches at the central demonstration on Kaplan Street started at 8:30 p.m. Some 135,000 Israelis demonstrated in Kaplan on Saturday, according to estimations.
Ya’alon criticized the government’s recently passed national budget, calling it the “budget of a dictatorial regime.”
He also attacked opposition leader Yair Lapid and National Unity chairman Benny Gantz for their willingness to continue negotiations with the government: “You are talking to him [Netanyahu] and his people? About what, about a dictatorship, salami-style?”
In Ramat Hasharon, thousands gathered to protest, according to Ynet. Over 2,000 people demonstrated at Karkur junction on Highway 65, according to Ynet.
Labor party chairwoman Merav Michaeli gave a speech at Karkur junction and was booed, with protesters shouting “resign!” and blaming her for destroying the Labor party. “So there were some people in front of the stage who shouted abuse, it happens. I believe in my way,” Michaeli said in response.
“Now it is clear that the negotiations at the President’s Residence served as a mere ploy by Netanyahu to buy time. The government is one vote away from passing the judicial overhaul which would undermine Israel’s democratic institutions. Only one thing stopped the government in their first attempt to push the judicial overhaul through: Hundreds of thousands of Israelis protesting. Our protest will once again stop Netanyahu,” the leadership of the national protests said in a statement.
Ahead of the demonstrations, Israel Police announced that a number of roads in Tel Aviv and Haifa will be blocked for traffic on Saturday evening.
In Tel Aviv, the following streets will be affected: Kaplan Street from Ibn Gabirol Street to Menachem Begin Street in both directions; the Kaplan intersection through Menachem Begin is blocked to the north and south; the HaShalom bridge ramps will be closed to the north and south (it will not be possible to go down to Route 20); Yigal Alon intersection - HaShalom is blocked to the west.
In Haifa, the main demonstration will take place on Horev junction. Therefore, the following streets will be affected: Sderot Hanasi from the Bikurim junction towards the center of Horev junction in both directions; the Pika - Horev - Gat junction; Pika intersection - Hadassah towards the center of Horev; Pika - Harel junction towards the center of Horev; Horev - Freud Street intersection towards the center of Horev, Disraeli - Horev junction towards the Horev center and Mapo - Moriah junction towards the Horev center.
Getting to the hospital will be possible from Freud, Vitkin, Smolenskin, HaRofeh and Ranak streets.