Author David Grossman speaks at protest in Tel Aviv
Author David Grossman speaks at protest in Tel AvivAvshalom Sassoni/Flash 90

Israeli author David Grossman on Saturday night gave a speech at the protest against the new government and its planned judicial reforms which was held in Tel Aviv.

"There are mainly young people here who do not want to continue living here, because what is happening here is foreign to them, and has unwillingly turned them into strangers themselves. Israel as it is today has ceased to be a home for them, and in order not to tolerate the feeling of foreignness - they move themselves into a kind of internal exile," said Grossman.

"The State of Israel was established so that there would be one place in the world where the Jewish person and the Jewish people feel at home, but if so many Israelis feel like immigrants within themselves - obviously something is going wrong," he added.

"It seems to me that many people feel this way - people from the center, people from the left and also people from the right, Jews, Arabs, secularists and believers. Those who were defeated in the elections and even those who won. Israel is in a fateful fight for its image, for the face of its democracy, for human rights, freedom of creativity and art, for free public broadcasting. Our fight is against cynical politicians, some of them corrupt, who are determined to redefine justice in a unilateral and anti-democratic way," charged Grossman.

"We also understand that if the status of the rule of law is fatally damaged, all other important fights will also gradually crumble. Because of all these things I refuse to be an exile in my country. Protesters refuse to be passive, indifferent, exiles in their own country."

"It is not easy to leave the house and demonstrate week after week and then get stuck in traffic for hours. But we are doing an act of great awakening here, of the beginning of the return from exile, especially the paralyzing internal exile, to the home. We are doing this because behind the one-sided plan of the regime reform we see a house on fire, literally."

The Israel Police estimated that 100,000 demonstrators took part in the protest in Tel Aviv.

Additional demonstrations also took place outside the President's Residence in Jerusalem, in Be'er Sheva, and in Herzliya. Prior to the demonstration in Tel Aviv, Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai came to the Tel Aviv police command center and was updated on the police preparations.

Opposition leader and Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid stated at the demonstration, "What you are seeing today is a demonstration for the country. This is a demonstration in support of the country. People who love the country came here today to defend its democracy, defend its courts, and defend the idea of coexistence. There are lovers of Israel here who came to demonstrate in support of a Jewish-democratic state in accordance with the values of the Declaration of Independence."