Thousands of Israelis took to the streets Saturday evening to protest plans by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's new government that opponents say threaten democracy and freedoms. The protesters gathered in the central city of Tel Aviv days after the most right-wing and religiously conservative government in the country's 74-year history was sworn in, the AP reports. "The settler government is against me," read one placard. Another banner read, "Housing, Livelihood, Hope." Some protesters carried rainbow flags. The protest was led by left-wing and Arab members of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset. They contend that proposed plans by the new Cabinet will hinder judicial system and widen societal gaps.
The left-wing protesters slammed Justice Minister Yariv Levin, who on Wednesday unveiled the government's long-promised overhaul of the judicial system that aims to weaken the country's Supreme Court. Critics accused the government of declaring war on the legal system, saying the plan will upend Israel's system of checks and balances and undermine its democratic institutions by giving absolute power to the new governing coalition. Protesters also called for peace and co-existence between Jews and Arab residents of the country.
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