Israel Tensions Soar as Anti-Government Unrest Moves to Army

Tens of thousands are protesting over the Israeli government’s move to scale back the Supreme Court’s power, escalating tensions over a plan that’s sparked the biggest unrest in decades and seen army reservists threatening to withhold service.

There may be demonstrations in 20 cities across the country Thursday, according to plans released by organizers. Last week, confrontations between police and protesters turned violent in several areas. Water cannons were visible at several major junctions.

The upheaval has been building since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new right-wing coalition proposed handing the final say on the appointment of new judges to lawmakers and giving parliament the power to overrule high-court decisions.

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Netanyahu met Wednesday with President Isaac Herzog, who is seeking a compromise over the judicial overhaul. Demonstrators are taking to the streets twice a week.

“Certain cracks can form that will be irreparable in the future,” Herzi Halevi, head of the Israel Defense Forces, said after a meeting with reservist commanders. “Refusal is a red line, it should not be in the military protocol. It is unacceptable to discuss refusal, it is unacceptable to act on refusal.”


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