About 500,000 people came out to protest against judicial reform in Israel on the evening of Saturday, March 11, organizers of the protests say, calling them the largest in the history of the country. According to Haaretz, 250,000 people gathered for a rally in Tel Aviv.
According to the BBC, the processions continued until late at night, one of them was attended by the head of the city's police. One of the leaders of the opposition, Yar Lapid, speaking to the protesters, called what is happening "the greatest crisis" in Israel.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has criticized the protesters for agitating military personnel to go on strike and thereby endangering the country's security.
Thousands of protests have been going on in Israel since mid-February, when the Knesset passed in the first reading two bills implying the de facto subordination to the government of the system for electing judges of the Supreme Court. The reform also plans to remove some important powers from the Supreme Court, such as the right to block laws it deems unconstitutional. Under the proposed amendments, Parliament will be able to override any veto with a simple majority of 61 votes.
The government claims that the innovations, by limiting the power of the courts, will restore the balance between the branches of government. Opponents of the reform are convinced that it threatens democracy, since the ruling majority will be able to freely pass or repeal any laws.