Massive anti-government protests against judicial reforms by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government are spreading to university districts. The students opposed the Netanyahu government's judicial reforms, saying Israel's democracy was threatened.
According to the Times of Israel on the 16th (local time), thousands of students on 12 university campuses across Israel jointly left the classroom for one hour that day.
Protests were held at various locations, including the Hebrew University and Tel Avid University. According to local media Haaretz, four students were arrested that day at the Hebrew university.
Students at the Hebrew University held up the Israeli flag and signs that read "Fight for Democracy" and shouted their opposition to judicial reform.
At Tel Aviv University, students also confronted supporters of judicial reform organized by the far-right Zionist group Im Tirtzu.
About 200 students also protested at the Van Gurion University in the Negev, Israel. Demonstrators held signs that read, "We will not allow the High Court to fall," and opposed judicial reform.
"This is a decisive fight for our future against a government that will harm the equality and freedom of many groups in Israeli society without restraint or restriction," said the group Meha'at Hastudentim, which organized the protests, stressing that "we are determined to stop our crazy behavior and this (the protests) are just the beginning."
Last month, a right-wing coalition was officially launched with Netanyahu's Likud party and three far-right parties — devout Zionism, Otsuma Yehudit (Israel Power) and Noam, the ultra-Orthodox Jewish party Shas and the conservative Jewish political coalition Torah Judaism Union (UTJ).
Israeli Justice Minister Yarib Levin announced a bill on Jan. 4 that would give Congress more power in appointing judges and overturning Supreme Court rulings.
Protesters are protesting that judicial reform could undermine Israel's democracy. In particular, at a time when Prime Minister Netanyahu is on trial for corruption before taking office, it has been pointed out that the intentions of judicial reform are questionable. [News1]