At least one hundred thousand supporters of the government rallied outside the Knesset on Thursday evening calling for the judicial overhaul to be enacted and the power of the Supreme Court to be curtailed.
"We don't want compromise," the crown chanted, referring to talks being held between representatives of the coalition and opposition under the auspices of President Issac Herzog, to agree on a compromise legislation that would replace the judicial overhaul, advanced by the government.
Head of the Religious Zionism Party, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said in his speech that the judicial overhaul will be passed in the Knesset. "I promise you that," he told the crowd.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is not expected to attend, said he was moved by the large crowd that chose to express their support.
"I thank the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who came to Jerusalem tonight to support our government. Your passion and patriotism moves me deeply," he said in a Tweet
The ruling conservative Likud Party and its far-right coalition ally Otzma Yehudit have sponsored the event, which was branded as “The One Million March,” although the number of participants is not expected to reach anywhere near that figure.
Justice Minister Yariv Levin said the people have spoken in the elections, in favor of the judicial overhaul and the government was elected with a majority in the Knesset, to repair the ills of a one-sided judicial system, with judges who are above the Knesset and the government," he said. adding that there must also be a limit on the power of legal advisers.
"Since I presented the judicial reform, more and more people understand the need for the legislation. he said. "I believe we can reach an agreement in negotiations that would include much of what we are seeking," he said.
I have been attacked and berated in the past months but I have only grown stronger.
"We are in an unusual situation in Israel in recent months that, in my opinion, the country has not experienced before. There is an atmosphere here where people are trying to paint a picture as if the elected government does not really represent the people, and today we are protesting to show that it does."
Simcha Rothman, chair of the Knesset Constitution, Law, Justice Committee who has been pushing the legislation through, said the coalition's judicial reform is the true democratic act.
Ahead of the speeches, protesters stepped on pictures of past and present Supreme Court justices that were laid on the ground.
Earlier on Thursday, a prominent Haredi newspaper that represents coalition member faction United Torah Judaism tried to distance itself from the rally and called on the ultra-Orthodox public not to take part in it.
"Haredi Judaism is neither left nor right", but rather adheres to the ruling of the rabbis," said the editor.
"The Torah prohibits demonstrations, except in rare cases where protest rallies are declared by Gdolei Hador (the most revered rabbis of the generation).
Friedman further explained that while the Haredi parties have made a political pact with the bloc that represents traditional and conservative values but it does not mean they should see eye to eye on every issue and the Haredi public does support the legal shakeup, but criticized the right for reciprocating the “anarchist left’s lawless protests”, which he compared to the Arab Spring of the previous decade.