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Israeli doctors call strike, reservists threaten to quit over 'judicial reforms'

An Israeli policeman stands behind a metal fence being shoved by demonstrators in Tel Aviv on July 24, 2023. (Photo by AFP)

Israeli doctors have announced a 24-hour strike and army reservists threatened to refuse to report for duty to protest Knesset (the Israeli parliament)'s earlier approval of a key part of a hugely unpopular "judicial overhaul" plan.

The Israel Medical Association called the walkout around the occupied territories, though not in the holy city of al-Quds, on Tuesday.

The Tel Aviv Regional Labor Court ordered the doctors to return to work, but the physicians said they would not remain silent.

"Tomorrow, the physicians will go back to work, but I can say that thousands of them are not going to be silent...," said Hagai Levine, chairman of the Israeli Association of Public Health Physicians.

An increasing number of army reservists have, meanwhile, been threatening to quit reserve duty to similarly convey their opposition to the overhaul scheme.

"There has been an increase in requests to halt reserve duty," Brigadier General Daniel Hagari told Israeli reporters in remarks confirmed by a military spokesman.

"If reservists do not report for duty for a long duration, there will be damage done to the preparedness of the military," Hagari said, adding this would be "a gradual process."

The regime's legislature approved the first bill of the plan in a tumultuous session on Monday that saw the opposition legislators walking out in protest and shouting “for shame!”

The bill prevents the regime’s Supreme Court from striking down the Israeli cabinet’s decisions if it deems them to be "unreasonable."

It is part of a broader scheme that Netanyahu announced in January as means of supposedly curbing, what he called was, decades of undue political interference by judges.

The scheme’s opponents, however, argue that it will remove necessary checks on the power that is wielded by the politicians. They also accuse Netanyahu, who is on trial on several counts of corruption charges, of trying to use the scheme to quash possible judgments against him.

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