Sanders voices support for mass protests against Israeli government’s ‘extreme’ actions

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)
Greg Nash
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) arrives to the Senate Chamber for a vote regarding a nomination on Wednesday, March 15, 2023.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Monday threw his support behind the mass demonstrations in Israel against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s push to overhaul the judiciary in the country.

“I applaud the hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens peacefully protesting against their extreme government’s actions,” Sanders, who spent time living in Israel in his youth, tweeted. “Israel deserves a fully democratic government that protects the rights of all and works to assure peace and dignity for Palestinians and Israelis alike.”

Tens of thousands of Israelis protested on Monday, with many workers striking to take part. 

Sanders’s tweet came shortly after reports emerged that Netanyahu and his allies are expected to delay the judicial changes.

Itamer Ben Gvir, Netanyahu’s national security minister, announced late on Monday that the effort would be shelved until the summer session in parliament that kicks off on April 30. That would allow for a compromise resolution to be reached. 

According to The Associated Press, Ben Gvir said Netanyahu agreed to bring the proposal up for a vote when parliament reconvenes “if no agreements are reached during the recess.”

The demonstrations have paralyzed much of the country in recent days. Flights out of Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport have been grounded while the nation’s largest trade union of 800,000 workers went on strike against the government’s blueprint. 

Adding to the fury among protesters, Netanyahu fired Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant after the latter called for the prime minister to pause the judicial changes. 

The proposed overhaul would hand parliament the ability to overturn decisions by the Israeli Supreme Court and give the governing coalition power over judicial appointments. 

Detractors of the plan say it would turn the idea of checks and balances on its head and hand Netanyahu more power while he is facing three separate corruption charges.

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