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Israeli President appeals for judicial reform to be scrapped as protests turn violent

In Tel Aviv, hundreds of protesters broke through police barricades and blocked a busy highway for a short while, before they were dispersed by a large police force, some mounted on horseback.

Several protesters were detained in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Israeli media reported.

The protesters seek to block the proposed government reforms of the Supreme Court, which they cast as a danger to democracy.

Netanyahu – on trial on graft charges he denies – says the reform would restore balance between the branches of government.

President calls for end of judiciary overhaul
Israeli President Isaac Herzog said on Thursday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government should abandon proposed legislation to overhaul the country’s judiciary in favor of a model with broad national support.

Herzog has been mediating between the government and protesters.

“There are agreements over most issues, yes, not all, but the vast majority. Certainly enough to abandon the legislation currently proposed and bring in its place for discussion … a different agreed upon outline,” Herzog said in a televised address.

Reservist colonel dismissed
The Israeli air force said on Thursday that it had dismissed a reservist officer in the military for trying to orchestrate group walkouts from training flights as part of a spreading protest at judicial reforms planned by the government.

In its first disciplinary measure during the political crisis roiling Israel, the military said in a statement that the colonel, whose name has not been published, “behaved … in a manner unbecoming of his officer’s rank and station”.

Separately, air force chief Major-General Tomer Bar said the colonel “took upon himself inappropriate authority in his contact with the IAF pilots. Unionizing to synchronize absence from service, though coming from good intentions, is forbidden.”

Thirty-seven reservist pilots and navigators from an F-15 squadron said on Sunday they would skip a training day to “devote our time to dialogue and reflection for the sake of democracy and national unity.”

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