Israeli demonstrators took to the streets across the country on Tuesday in protest against the far-right coalition's moves to push ahead with the controversial judicial overhaul, reported Xinhua.
The state-owned Kan TV news estimated that tens of thousands of protesters participated in the so-called "Day of Disruption," holding rallies on streets in major Israeli cities. Temporary blockades were set up on six highways, including sections of the Ayalon Highways, Israel's main freeway.
Clashes between protesters and police officers broke out in several locations as the police attempted to disperse them. Water cannons were used by the police to disperse the protesters in some areas. The rallies continued throughout the night, resulting in the arrest of at least 45 protesters, according to a police statement.
During rush hour, thousands of protesters gathered at major train stations, causing a temporary pause in train services at two stations in Tel Aviv, Israel's financial capital, and the coastal city of Haifa.
In the evening, 161 reserved Air Force officers released a statement announcing their immediate resignation from service. This group includes air crews, attack drone operators, intelligence officers, and others.
The officers argued that passing the two bills of the government's proposed judicial overhaul, which already received initial approval from the Knesset (parliament) and the coalition could ratify them any time, would "dramatically change the face of Israel and turn it from a democracy to a dictatorship."
Thousands of reserve soldiers have announced their refusals to show up for call-ups in recent months, raising the Israeli military's concerns. On Monday, Herzi Halevi, chief of staff of the Israeli Defense Forces, told the Knesset's National Security Committee that the call for refusal "harms the Israel Defense Forces and also undermines national security."
On Tuesday, the rightist coalition government continued to make preparations for the two final votes on a bill aimed at canceling some of the Supreme Court's powers, with the aim of completing the legislation before the Knesset adjourns on July 30 for its summer recess.
Opposition lawmakers filed approximately 27,000 objections to the bill in an attempt to delay the final votes.
Bezalel Smotrich, leader of the hard-right Religious Zionism party and Israel's finance minister, said on Monday that the government plans to proceed with further bills, including a contentious one that would grant the coalition a majority in a powerful panel responsible for appointing new judges, following the summer recess.
The planned judicial overhaul has thrown Israeli society into turmoil, with many expressing concerns and frustration about the future of Israel's judiciary under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's leadership.
The grassroots movement has staged some of the largest demonstrations ever seen in Israel since the 1980s, with weekly protests occurring for 28 consecutive weeks following the announcement of the overhaul plan by the ruling coalition in January.
Netanyahu, Israel's longest-serving leader, returned to office in December last year, leading a rightist government coalition consisting of ultranationalist and ultra-religious parties. He is facing a criminal trial over corruption charges in three separate cases.