Huge protests erupt in Israel over court reforms

Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets in Israel over the past three months to protest Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to overhaul the country’s judiciary.

The protests have drawn from a broad swath of Israeli society: young and old, religious and secular, residents of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and beyond.

Wearing “Handmaid’s Tale” costumes, carrying sharp-witted signs and flying the ubiquitous blue-and-white national flag, protesters have blocked main highways and disrupted daily life in their effort to fight Netanyahu’s ultranationalist and ultra-Orthodox government.

On Monday, Netanyahu bowed to the discontent by announcing a delay in the plan and saying that he wanted “to avoid civil war” by seeking a compromise with political opponents during the next several weeks.

If passed, the series of laws would limit the Supreme Court’s powers and give politicians greater control over judicial appointments.

The proposal has plunged Israel into its worst domestic crisis in decades by dividing an already polarized country and galvanizing a fractured opposition that was still reeling from defeat late last year. The November election was Israel’s fifth in less than four years.