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The Daily Signal Podcast

INTERVIEW | What You Need to Know About Israeli Protests

With hundreds of thousands of Israelis taking to the streets in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem over reforms to the judicial system proposed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, what are Americans to make of it?

"Well, basically, what Netanyahu is proposing is to make the appointments of the judges less political and their powers less sweeping. The Supreme Court has been a very sort of left-leaning element in the Israeli government," says Victoria Coates, senior research fellow in international affairs and national security with the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at The Heritage Foundation. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)

"And so, it's a reform that a number of Israelis support, but making it somewhat more controversial is the fact that the prime minister himself is under investigation for various charges of corruption and bribery," Coates says. "And so, there is a perception—which I personally don't think is true—but that there's a broad public perception that he is trying to manipulate the courts for his own legal gain."

Coates further discussed the significance of the protests.

"I think it's really remarkable, and the estimates are as many as 700,000 people were out in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem last night, and that's a country of 9 million people," Coates says. "So, you're coming up on 10% of the country is participating in this. I think it certainly demonstrates how passionately Israelis feel about their politics and about their country, and the degree to which they feel participant in this process."

Coates joins today's episode of "The Daily Signal Podcast" to discuss why Netanyahu fired Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, whether the protests could have larger ramifications for Israel and other Middle Eastern countries, and what the response has been like from the Biden administration. 

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