Protest outside embassy attracts 'more than expected' say organisers

Yesterday's event in London was timed to coincide with other international rallies against the Israeli government's planned legal reforms


Hundreds of Israelis based in the UK staged an unprecedented protest outside Israel’s London Embassy on Saturday afternoon against their government’s planned judicial reforms which they say are a threat to democracy.

The event was timed to coincide with similar demonstrations in 18 other cities in Europe and North America as well as in Israel, where thousands took to the streets in Tel Aviv for a fifth week running.

Omer Regev, an MBA student at the London Business School, estimated that more than 300 people came to the London rally. “There were more than we expected, we didn’t expect more than 100 to show up.”

They ranged from teenagers and students to older people, he said, and from temporary residents to those who have lived longer in the UK.

In a statement issued by the organisers before the event, Anat Shavit, who works in the biopharma industry in Cambridge, said, "I protest for Israeli democracy, as I believe in freedom, equality, and human rights, and I see, with great pain and shock, those values under attack by the current Israeli government.

The planned changes and legislation would, she claimed, “produce a de facto authoritarian regime, and this is something I believe the vast majority of Israelis do not support.  

“We will keep protesting and supporting our families and friends back in Israel, and believe the true spirit of Israel, the one reflected in the Declaration of Independence, will prevail.”

Among the powers the Israeli government is looking to introduce is to overturn Supreme Court rulings by a Knesset majority.

Reuven Ziegler, an associate professor in Reading University’s School of Law, said if the reforms were implemented, “Israel may retain a semblance of democratic governance by holding periodic elections, but its substantive content will have vanished. Given the severity of the threat to Israel's democratic character, it is vital to speak out - in all fora - against these dangerous proposals.”

The organisers said that future events would be open to all supporters of Israel, “including those who are Shabbat observant”.

Mr Regev said that, “We got calls from members of the Jewish community saying they would have loved to join but they couldn’t.”

READ MORE: Why Netanyahu is right to go after overmighty Supreme Court

Israel will stay a vibrant democracy, Ambassador says ahead of protest

Be prepared for the end of Israel as we know it

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive