Netanyahu flown to airport after demonstrators block road


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was unable to drive to the nation’s primary international airport on Thursday for a trip abroad and had to be airlifted there instead.

The rallies were part of widespread protests that have been taking place around the country for more than two months against Netanyahu and his administration’s divisive agenda to reform the court. Netanyahu’s airport route was mostly blocked by protesters on Thursday, with the Israeli prime minister’s needing to find other transportation seen as a victory for the anti-government movement.

The helicopter flight could further cement Netanyahu’s image as being disconnected from Israelis at a time when the economy is slowing and the nation is divided over the government’s plan, even though it avoided the gridlock caused by the protest.

In a televised speech late on Thursday, Israel’s symbolic president, Isaac Herzog, who has been attempting to mediate a compromise between Netanyahu’s allies and the opposition, called for a solution.

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Herzog asserted that the plan advocated by Netanyahu should be promptly abandoned. As president, Herzog is expected to serve as a unifying force that is essentially above politics. “It’s incorrect. That is damaging. It threatens the fundamentals of our democracy,” he warned.

He argued that weeks of secret negotiations had brought the parties closer to an understanding. “You’ll be judged by history. Now, take accountability,” he commanded.

The US Defense Secretary’s visit on Thursday was also hampered by the protesters; his itinerary had to be changed so that his events would be close to the airport.

Austin momentarily entered Israel’s domestic squabble by reiterating President Joe Biden’s recent remarks that “the genius of American democracy and Israeli democracy is that they are both built on strong institutions, on checks and balances, and on an independent judiciary” at a news conference.

The protesters’ “day of resistance to authoritarianism” started with hundreds gathering at the country’s biggest international airport waving Israeli flags and blocking the route leading to the departures area with their cars.

In other towns, including Tel Aviv, a beach metropolis, demonstrators stopped major junctions and tussled with police. A tiny flotilla of kayaks and paddleboards attempted to block a major shipping route off the northern city of Haifa. A few demonstrators surrounded the offices in Jerusalem of a conservative think tank that was driving the judicial reforms.

Israel is currently experiencing one of its worst domestic crises as a result of the controversy over Netanyahu’s law reform. Beyond the demonstrations, which have brought tens of thousands of Israelis to the streets and have recently turned violent, opposition to the plan has risen from all sectors of society. Business executives and legal authorities have spoken out against what they claim will be the plan’s disastrous effects. Israel’s military is experiencing unprecedented internal opposition as a result of the rift.



Raven Ruma is a professional journalist with a keen eye on domestic and foreign situations. His favorite pastime is to keep the public informed about the current situation through his pen and he is fulfilling this responsibility through the platform of Arab News.

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