TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Thousands of right-wing Israelis on Thursday blocked a main highway in Tel Aviv as they demonstrated in favor of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to overhaul the country’s judicial system.
The crowd was much smaller than the hundreds of thousands of people who have taken to the streets in recent months to demonstrate against the plan.
But the gathering had the same effect. Protesters honked their car horns and hoisted blue and white Israeli flags — crippling traffic along the Ayalon highway, the main north-south thoroughfare running through the coastal city.
After especially intense protests, Netanyahu this week froze the plan and began negotiations with his political opponents aimed at finding a compromise plan. But his opponents have vowed to continue their protests as well.
The plan would give Netanyahu’s parliamentary coalition control over judicial appointments and the power to overturn Supreme Court decisions it opposes.
Netanyahu and his allies say the plan is needed to rein a system unelected activist judges who wield too much power over political matters.
Opponents say the changes would destroy a system of checks and balances by concentrating too much power in the hands of Netanyahu and his allies in parliament. They also say Netanyahu has a conflict of interest while he is on trial for criminal charges and has no business meddling in the country’s legal system.