In Tel Aviv, protesters attend a mass ‘Independence party’ to demonstrate against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his nationalist coalition government’s proposed judicial overhaul. (Image Source – Reuters)
On Tuesday evening, as Israel commenced its annual Independence Day celebrations, tens of thousands of people opted to protest instead of participating in the festivities.The protesters were demonstrating against the government’s controversial plans to impose restrictions on the judiciary, which have triggered weekly protests for the past 16 weeks.
While dignitaries and honoured guests attended the annual torch lighting ceremony in Jerusalem, protesters holding blue and white Israeli flags – now a symbol of their movement – gathered in Tel Aviv to voice their opposition against the government’s proposed judiciary restrictions.
Israel’s Independence Day is usually a time for patriotic unity, but this year, the country remains deeply divided over planned legislation that has caused controversy. Supporters of the legislation argue that it would restore balance to Israeli authorities, while critics claim that it would remove important checks on those in power.
As Israelis mark the 75th anniversary of their country’s founding, there are some of the deepest social divisions seen since 1948. Despite this, Israelis still came together on Tuesday for Memorial Day to honor the country’s military dead.
However, the following day, Independence Day, tens of thousands of people protested against the government’s plans, with some saying that this might be the last year they celebrate Independence Day in the way they are used to.