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One of many protests against Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposed judicial changes (Picture: Reuters)

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu had to be helicoptered in to the country’s international airport amid protests over his planned judicial reforms.

Demonstrators waved Israeli flags and used cars to shut off access to Ben Gurion airport’s departure area ahead of the PM’s planned trip to Rome.

In a ‘day of resistance to dictatorship’, activists blocked major road junctions and scuffled with police in Tel Aviv and other cities. A flotilla of paddleboards and kayaks were used for a bid to shut a shipping lane off the northern city of Haifa.

Yesterday’s disruption also hit visiting US defence secretary Lloyd Austin, whose schedule was rearranged to keep his engagements close to the airport.

Israel has seen some of its biggest demonstrations in years since plans were unveiled in January. If passed, they would curb the Supreme Court’s power and give the government more say over judicial appointments.

The government says reforms will strengthen democracy, but critics say it will undermine it and politicise the judiciary.

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