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Hundreds of thousands of Israelis flocked to the streets in a resounding demonstration of their disapproval of the government’s contentious move to overhaul the judiciary system. The mammoth gatherings occurred across various cities, including Jerusalem, Haifa, Beersheba, and Tel Aviv, as organizers declared a “Week of Paralysis” aimed at combatting what they perceived as an “endeavor to convert Israel into a totalitarian state.”

The protesters, numbering about 630,000 according to the event’s facilitators, were predominantly centered in Tel Aviv, where around 200,000 marchers amassed. Local media sources reported that the demonstration in Tel Aviv was the focal point of the activists’ mobilization.

The rallies were not without their share of confrontations, as police personnel used water cannons to disperse the protestors obstructing the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv, resulting in the arrest of 28 individuals. Lawyers providing legal assistance to the demonstrators claimed that authorities apprehended a total of 44 activists during the massive protest.

In the midst of the widespread demonstrations, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant cautioned that the issue of judicial reform has created a growing division, stating that “the deepening split is seeping into the military and defense institutions. This is a clear, immediate, and real danger to Israel’s security.” He further implored the government to initiate negotiations with the opposition.

For several months now, Israel has been besieged by protests triggered by the Netanyahu cabinet’s plan to limit the Supreme Court’s authority to adjudicate against the legislative and executive arms of the government, whilst also giving the ruling coalition a majority on the judicial committee that appoints judges.

However, on Monday, the Netanyahu coalition reduced the number of government representatives on the judicial committee after a conversation with US President Joe Biden, who “expressed support for initiatives aimed at achieving a compromise on the proposed judicial reforms in line with fundamental principles of democratic societies, including the separation of powers.”

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