- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be given a pacemaker ahead of a decisive vote in parliament on a planned overhaul of the judiciary.
- According to Netanyahu, he should be released from the hospital this afternoon.
- Debate on the draft legislation begins at 09:00 (CEST).
- Meanwhile, millions across the country are protesting against the planned judicial reform. Citizens, unions and the military formed to resist.
“I am doing well, but I am listening to my doctors,” Netanyahu said in a video message. Cardiac monitoring indicated that immediate surgery was necessary. It will take place at the Skiba Clinic near Tel Aviv, according to news agencies.
I am doing my best.
Netanyahu was unexpectedly hospitalized last weekend. Back then, he was said to have been in the sun for a long time without water and a hat. After that, his condition was monitored.
Debate on the controversial judicial overhaul begins today
Netanyahu’s right-wing religious government plans to present a major part of its controversial plans to overhaul the judiciary in parliament in Jerusalem today. Debate on the draft legislation begins at 09:00 (CEST). A final vote is not expected until Monday afternoon.
On Saturday, several hundred thousand people took to the streets against the planned weakening of the judiciary. Channel 13 estimated that around 170,000 people gathered in the center of the coastal city of Tel Aviv and 85,000 in Jerusalem. According to media reports, there were occasional violent clashes with the police. Many demonstrators were arrested.
Half a million people in protest?
Organizers of the protests put the number of participants across the country at more than half a million. It will be one of the biggest days of protests since demonstrations began in early January. Israel has about 10 million people.
For more than six months, the planned overhaul of the judiciary has divided large sections of Israeli society. Protest signs in Tel Aviv, for example, read “Netanyahu is an enemy of democracy” or “Save our homeland.” Many Israelis in the metropolis fear that Israel could fundamentally change with the legislative package.
Call for general strike
Thousands marched to the Histadrut headquarters in Tel Aviv on Saturday night to call for a general strike. Meanwhile, Histadrut boss Arnon Bar-David consulted on how to proceed.
The Histadrut, which has about 800,000 members, called a general strike in late March after Netanyahu sacked Galant. The defense minister had previously publicly criticized the approach to revamping the judiciary. Netanyahu later suspended the plans, and Gallant’s dismissal was later reversed.
Pressure on the government from the military ranks
Recently there has been an increase in resistance among the military. On Saturday, around 10,000 reservation workers announced that they would no longer report for duty if the government did not end their plans.
According to reports, this could significantly affect the operational readiness of the army. As of Friday, more than 1,000 Air Force reservists had already threatened to walk off the service.
Bar association should take action against the law
The law no longer allows the country’s Supreme Court to judge the decision of the government or individual ministers as “irrelevant”. Critics fear it will encourage corruption and lead to arbitrary filling of important posts and dismissals. On the other hand, the Netanyahu government accuses the judiciary of too much interference in political decisions.
Bar Association President Amit Becher announced in Jerusalem that action would be taken if the law is passed. “If the government raises enough standards on Monday, we will file a petition in the Supreme Court on Tuesday.”
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