Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the chief rabbi of Tzfat (Safed) and a leading figure in the Religious Zionist community, expressed confidence Thursday night that the mass demonstration held by supporters of the government's judicial overhaul plan succeeded in barring the possibility of the reform being scuttled.
Speaking with Israel National News at Thursday's rally, which organizers say drew some 600,000 demonstrators, Rabbi Eliyahu
"The people of Israel live; they left their homes - and their fears. The people of Israel came out en masse. Here, we strengthened the people of Israel and explain that the people have vital forces, and the clear mind and will to say 'I am not a second-class citizen'. After this evening, it seems to me that the fear that the judicial reform could be torpedoed is over."
Rabbi Eliyahu emphasized that he did not view Thursday night's protest as a demonstration against opponents of the judicial overhaul, but in support for the reforms he and other supporters believe will strengthen Israel as a democracy.
"They are our beloved and esteemed brothers, and they must understand - democracy is what the people choose. They see this protest and understand that the people have decided."
"The protests are mainly related to the Jewish identity. The judicial reform is a trigger. They are afraid that we are all a herd of Bibi-ists, and that is a disgrace. They think we are for dictatorship, and that is the greatest disgrace there can be. They don't know what Judaism is, and therefore they are afraid. Judaism is the best, the purest, the most just, and the most truthful," added Rabbi Eliyahu.
The interview in Hebrew: