Smoke bombs thrown outside stock exchange, highways closed as protests continue in Israel

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Protests against judicial reform continue in Israel. Protesters gathered on Tuesday, blocking the entrance to the military headquarters and detonating smoke bombs in front of the stock exchange. Banners reading 'Dictatorship will kill the economy' were unfurled.

Smoke bombs thrown outside stock exchange, highways closed as protests continue in Israel

Israeli protesters gathered again on Tuesday against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's planned judicial reform and blocked highways. Other protests are expected to take place throughout the day.

Demonstrators, many of them reservists, blocked one of the entrances to Kirya, the Israeli military headquarters in central Tel Aviv. Protesters in front of the Tel Aviv stock exchange set off smoke bombs, beat drums and chanted slogans. Banners read "save our startup nation" and "dictatorship will kill the economy".

Another group of demonstrators gathered outside the headquarters of the Histadrut, Israel's largest labor union. They demanded that the organization call a large-scale strike. The union had called for a strike in March, contributing to Netanyahu's freeze on judicial reform at the time. But last month he decided to revive the plan.

JUDICIARY REFORM DRAGGED INTO THE DEBATE

Netanyahu is the most ultra-nationalist and conservative government leader in Israel's 75-year history. After taking office in December, he proposed a series of controversial changes to the country's judicial reform. The proposed judicial reform sparked a nationwide revolt. Weekly protests were organized.

The proposed laws would give lawmakers more control over the appointment of judges and give parliament the power to overturn high court rulings and pass laws exempt from judicial review.

The bill, which passed parliament this week, would remove the Supreme Court's power to overturn government decisions it deems unreasonable. The judges used this "reasonability clause" to cancel the appointment of a key Netanyahu ally as interior minister in 2021 after he pleaded guilty to tax evasion charges.

Netanyahu and his allies say these measures are necessary to curb an overly activist Supreme Court composed of unelected judges. Critics say the judicial overhaul will concentrate power in the hands of Netanyahu and his allies and weaken the country's system of checks and balances.

Source: VOA

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