On Tuesday night, tens of thousands of Israelis took to the streets of Jerusalem to show their support for the judicial reforms being proposed by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition government. The protest, held under the banner of “They will not steal our elections,” was organized by organized by all the extra-parliamentary organizations that supported the judicial reforms.
Among the protesters were the Sovereignty Movement headed by Nadia Matar and Yehudit Katsover.
“We came together and decided in the morning that we needed to stand up and be heard, printed up flyers and sent out the word, and in the evening, people came out in droves,” Matar told Israel365 News. “This was a show of the unity of all the people and the organizations.”
“But it’s hard to call it a success when it should never have happened,” Matar said. “We just had an election in which the overwhelming majority of the people voted right wing. Usually, when you win elections you don’t need to demonstrate anymore.”
Matar emphasized that she supported public demonstrations, but she was critical of the anti-reform demonstrations.
“Legitimate demonstrations are a necessary and positive part of democracy and this is the way these demonstrations began,” she said. “But these demonstrations quickly devolved into anarchy and violence and efforts to shut down the country. They included anti-Israel organizations that were calling for chaos.”
Matar believes that the stated purpose of the anti-reform demonstrations hid an additional agenda.
“The real motivation behind the protests is that the elite minority in this country does not accept the results of the elections,” she said. “The right-wing ran on a platform of judicial reform and before the elections, everyone agreed that the judicial system needed to be changed.”
Matar suggested that the proof that this agenda was the true purpose was evidenced in the fact that when Netanyahu announced on Monday that he would freeze the judicial reforms until the summer sessions of the Knesset, the organizers of the demonstrations said that the anti-reform protests would continue.
“This proves that it is not about the reforms,” Matar said. “Many people are really demonstrating against the reforms but most of the people are against a right-wing government; any right-wing government. This problem is not going away.”
Matar suggested that this conflict in Israeli society will not go away any time soon.
“There has been a demographic shift in the country and Israel is becoming more right-wing, more religious, and more Zionist,” Matar said. “We want a Jewish country. We want Israel to be the nation of the Jewish people. The left-wing is an elitist minority that retains power through the judicial system, academia, and the media.”
“If we give in to this, we have abandoned democracy and any hope of having a Jewish state,” Matar concluded.
Yaakov Hayman, a managing director of Yishai, an organization for the establishment of Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, was at the demonstration.
“I haven’t gone to demonstrations for many many years, but I felt that we needed to make a show of our will,” Hayman said. “We just won at the ballot box but, unfortunately, now we have to show that we also can win in the street.”
“The protests have nothing to do with judicial reform. The left is realizing that they don’t have anything to offer,” Hayman said. “As long as they had a demographic advantage, they could control the government. The last bastion of their strength is the courts.”Once they’ve lost that they pretty much lost everything in the country.”
“When that happens, Israel will become more Jewish,” Hayman said. “It’s inevitable. It’s going to happen and it is happening already. When Israel becomes a Jewish state, the Jewish people will be able to do what we are supposed to be doing in the land of Israel.”
Hayman explained that the Israeli courts have frequently made rulings that hindered the IDF in the performance of its duties.
“The Israeli courts consistently rule against Jews living or building in Judea and Samaria,” Hayman said. “At the same time, they allow Arabs to build in Area C with impunity.”
“If the courts did not have such a free hand to rule in whatever way they wish, Jews would be allowed to live in Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem and Arabs will be required to follow the laws.”
Hayman had an expansive vision of what judicial reform would mean for the Jewish state.
“We need the Jewish character of the Land of Israel to become more expressive,” he said. “A Jewish state also includes, of course, the Sanhedrin, a king from the house of David, the Third Temple, and the war against Amalek,” he concluded.