Thousands of Israelis have protested in Tel Aviv against government reform plans that critics have said would cripple judicial independence, foster corruption, set back minority rights and deprive Israel’s court system of credibility.
Israeli media estimate the number of people attending to be around 80,000, with similar protests taking place in Jerusalem and Haifa.
Protestors described Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposed changes pose a serious threat to democratic rule.
Critics fear that amongst other things, the new government could use this to scrap Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ongoing criminal trial, although the government has not said it would do that.
Netanyahu is being tried on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust – something he strongly denies.
The reforms would also give politicians more influence over the appointment of judges, with most members of the selection committee coming from the ruling coalition.
“We go to the polls, vote, choose, but time and time again people we didn’t choose decide for us,” said Levin, alluding to the power of judges to overturn laws.
“The time has come to act.”
If it passes into law, the plan could make it easier for the government to legislate in favour of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank without worrying about challenges in the Supreme Court. Israel has previously highlighted the power of the court to rule against it, as a way of blunting international criticism of such moves.