Israelis stage massive airport protest against proposed judicial overhaul


Hundreds of Israeli protesters converged at Ben Gurion airport on Monday to voice their opposition to the government’s proposed legal reforms, as tensions over the issue continue to escalate. Demonstrators, equipped with horns, drums, and placards declaring “Democracy will win,” blocked the access of vehicles to the airport’s main international arrival and departure terminal.

The controversial overhaul, which would grant politicians greater influence over the judiciary, has raised concerns among opponents who fear it may pave the way for an authoritarian regime.

“We need to show that the protest is not asleep; we are here, we’re awake,” stated Smadar Bonen, a 46-year-old demonstrator from the Tel Aviv area. Bonen emphasized the significance of the protest in sending a message to politicians that their actions will not go unchallenged. The demonstration aimed to exert pressure on the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who assumed power in December through a coalition with ultra-Orthodox Jewish and extreme-right allies.

Following the unveiling of the reform agenda nearly three months ago, Netanyahu announced a temporary suspension to allow for negotiations with the opposition. However, these talks failed to yield any fruitful agreements, prompting Netanyahu to express his intention to proceed with the reforms, albeit with certain modifications.

During the protest at the airport, police detained four individuals “for violating public order.” The authorities stressed the importance of maintaining accessible traffic routes for emergency and rescue personnel. Despite the sizable gathering, the demonstration did not disrupt the airport’s flight schedule, according to a spokesperson for the Israel Airports Authority.

Ruth Regev, a retiree from Ramat Gan, expressed her deep concern about the government’s plan, underscoring its potential ramifications for Israeli society, democracy, and future generations. The ongoing opposition to the proposed legal reforms indicates the sustained momentum of the movement, with weekly rallies persistently challenging the government’s policies.

As the debate intensifies, the fate of the proposed judicial overhaul remains uncertain. Netanyahu’s determination to push forward with the reforms, coupled with the resolute resistance from the protesters, sets the stage for a potential clash between the government and its dissenting citizens.

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