‘Pro-Democracy’ Protesters in Israel Trap Democratically-elected Representatives in Homes

Israelis protest against plans by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's new government
Ohad Zwigenberg / Associated Press

Protesters in Israel claiming to be “pro-democracy” have trapped several members of the Knesset (MKs) in their private homes in an effort to prevent them from leaving for the legislature to pass a judicial reform bill.

The activists claim to be saving Israeli democracy from the reforms proposed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, which would actually increase democratic control over the country’s judiciary.

Critics of the Israeli legal system have described it as a “juristocracy,” one in which the judiciary holds sway over the other branches of government and selects judges who reflect its left-wing, secularist philosophy.

Netanyahu’s reforms, many of which parallel existing practices in the United States — the world’s leading democracy — are aimed at tipping the balance of power back toward the democratically-elected legislature.

Opponents of the reforms have held mass rallies for weeks. The Times of Israel reports that some are now blockading legislators’ homes, preventing their families from leaving — including a special needs child:

Protesters on Monday drew widespread condemnation after they blocked Likud lawmaker Tally Gotliv in her apartment, preventing her from taking her special needs daughter to her care service.

Demonstrators had gathered outside the homes of several coalition lawmakers amid large-scale protests ahead of a Knesset vote on a radical overhaul of the judiciary.

Netanyahu said in a statement “when protesters prevent a public representative from coming to vote in the Knesset and make an autistic girl miserable, that is not a legitimate protest. The protesters who are talking about democracy are the ones who are bringing an end to democracy.”

Mass protests were planned for Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, on Monday as the first of the proposed reforms — giving more power to the Knesset in the selection of judges, and limiting the Supreme Court’s power to review legislation — heads to a first reading in the legislature.

Israel handmaid's tale (Jack Guez / AFP via Getty)

Protesters supporting women’s rights dressed as characters from The Handmaid’s Tale TV series attend a protest in Tel Aviv on February 20, 2023, against controversial legal reforms being touted by the country’s hard-right government. – Protesters say the reform bill threatens democracy, as lawmakers ready for a key vote on the first reading of legislation to change the way judges are picked. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP) (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Demonstrators have also blocked roads in an attempt to bring the country to a standstill. Many refer to Netanyahu as a “dictator” who is attempting to execute a “coup.”

In an irony that demonstrates the power of the Israeli legal establishment over politics, Netanyahu is prevented from speaking in favor of his own reforms because of conflict-of-interest rules since he is on trial for corruption.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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