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“They will lose.” Netanyahu warns entrepreneurs to leave Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dismissed the notion that the judicial reform plan will drive high-tech companies to withdraw from Israel, even though some leaders in the tech sector have publicly warned against weakening the independence of Israeli courts.

“I am very optimistic about the Israeli economy in the medium and long term, especially since I will approve a new budget in the next few weeks,” he said in an interview with CNN on Sunday.

He added, according to Bloomberg, that tech entrepreneurs who pull out of Israel over opposition to his court plans will lose out because the country remains a “safe place” to do business.

“I am not worried, because Israel is a source of technology and innovation. Some of those who said they transferred money abroad lost money,” Netanyahu said in his interview with “Fareed Zakaria GPS”.

And “CNN” stated that the bill to amend the judiciary presented by Netanyahu, last March, caused a historic nationwide strike amid widespread protests, in addition to increasing international pressure, which led to the postponement of a vote on these changes, which would have constituted the largest reform. Comprehensive of the Israeli legal system since its inception.

The Israeli prime minister stressed that his country would remain a “strong democracy”, according to “CNN”, which indicated that he had indicated that he might back down from one of the most controversial aspects of the comprehensive reform, which is giving Parliament the power to override Supreme Court decisions by a simple majority.

And Tel Aviv witnessed, on Saturday evening, a new mass demonstration protesting against the project to reform the judicial system, which is supported by the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and which its critics consider contrary to the foundations of democracy, days before the Knesset resumed its work, according to “Agence France Presse”.

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The demonstrators carried Israeli flags and banners, including one that read, “History is looking at you.”

The Israeli Channel 12 estimated the number of demonstrators at about 150,000, while Channel 13 estimated the number at about 200,000.

Israelis have been demonstrating weekly for four months against the judicial reform that the Netanyahu government wants to implement, which critics consider anti-democratic.

The Knesset is scheduled to return to work, Monday, after a recess. Supporters and opponents of the reforms sought to put more pressure on politicians.

The coalition government, which includes parties from the right, the far-right, and ultra-Orthodox formations, asserts that the reforms aim to correct an imbalance between the judiciary and elected members of parliament, while its critics say it endangers Israeli democracy.

The architect of the reform project, Justice Minister Yariv Levin, spoke to thousands of demonstrators supporting the reforms in Jerusalem on Thursday.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich participated in the demonstration in favor of the reforms, vowing that the government would “not abandon” them.

On March 27, Netanyahu announced the “suspension” of the legislative process to give “an opportunity (..) for dialogue” after the expansion of the protest movement and the start of a general strike.

Negotiations between the parties under the auspices of President Isaac Herzog began this April in order to reach a settlement. But the opposition still doubts Netanyahu’s intentions, and no settlement has been reached.