Israel protests continue for 18th consecutive week — and other world news you may have missed

Demonstrations continue to rock Israel over mistrust of the country’s leadership and its proposals to strip power from the country's Supreme Court.

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In the last week, hundreds of thousands of Israelis have taken to the streets to demonstrate against government plans for judicial reform, the Associated Press reported. Protests began in March, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right administration announced new proposals to remove power from Israel’s Supreme Court.

Netanyahu paused the overhaul following intense pressure as parliament took a monthlong recess. However, when the government reconvened last week, protests intensified, illustrating Israelis' mistrust in the country’s leadership. On Thursday, protesters blocked major roads in Tel Aviv and demonstrated outside the homes of the president and the national security minister, calling for “equality.” Several protesters were arrested over the week for causing disturbances. This past weekend, thousands took to the streets again, continuing protests for the 18th consecutive week.

An aerial view of protesters holding a large sign with the silhouette of the face of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the words: You will never be our dictator.:
Protesters in Tel Aviv take part in a demonstration on May 6 against the Israeli government's proposed judicial overhaul. (Ilan Rosenberg/Reuters)

Why it matters: Since January, there have been hundreds of demonstrations across Israel over ongoing political crises. In just four years, five elections have been held and lawmakers have been unable to form a stable government. Netanyahu, who led the nation for 12 years, was ousted in 2021 after a coalition of his rivals won a confidence vote in Israel’s parliament. In early 2022 he stood trial for corruption, but later that year he was sworn in as prime minister for his sixth term.

The calls for democracy by Israeli protesters have put a spotlight on the human rights violations faced by Palestinian civilians just miles away. For decades, Palestinians have protested against the occupational Israeli government and the deteriorating conditions they continue to face.

Here are four other international news stories you may have missed this week from Yahoo News’ partner network.

6 face death penalty in Libya over conversion to Christianity

The shadow of a protester is seen on Libyan flags.
Libyan flags are displayed during a demonstration in Tripoli calling for unity and democratic transition. (Gianluigi Guercia/AFP via Getty Images)

As reported by the Guardian on Wednesday, six people in Libya are facing execution after converting from Islam to Christianity. The group of men and women were arrested in March by Libyan security forces known as the Internal Security Agency (ISA), human rights activists said.

Those arrested were charged under article 207 of the penal code, which outlaws any beliefs that “alter fundamental constitutional principles, or the fundamental structures of the social order.” The predominantly Muslim country also prohibits possession of any items, including books, that would promote non-Muslim values. The six arrests were made in a bid to “stop an organized gang action aiming to solicit and to make people leave Islam,” the ISA said in a statement. The families of those arrested discovered that their loved ones had been detained after videos of their confessions were published online by the ISA.

Seyfao Madi, an engineer and father of one, was featured in one confessional video claiming he had converted to Christianity in 2017 and had attempted to convert other Muslims. “In 2016 my friend introduced me to other friends, among them a Christian from the U.S.,” he said in the video. “We talked and discussed … then I converted the next year and he baptized me.” According to his lawyer, Madi renounced his new religion after being tortured. A U.S. citizen was detained in April by the ISA, but that person was later released and has reportedly left Libya.

Families in DR Congo search for missing loved ones after floods

Congolese Red Cross volunteers and local residents wrap in blankets the bodies of people who died in heavy flooding in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Congolese Red Cross volunteers and local residents wrap in blankets the bodies of people who died last week in heavy flooding in the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Glody Murhabazi/AFP via Getty Images)

The BBC reported on Sunday that more than 400 people have died in the Democratic Republic of Congo from floods and landslides that devastated two villages the week before. Thousands are believed to be missing.

People in the villages, located in the eastern part of the country, have begun digging through the mud in a desperate attempt to find loved ones. “Since Thursday we've been finding bodies every minute and we are burying them,” Thomas Bakenga, administrator of Kalehe territory, told France 24.

Why it matters: The flooding in the Democratic Republic of Congo is yet another example of how poorer countries in the global South suffer the immediate and catastrophic consequences of climate change. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said this was another “illustration of accelerating climate change and its disastrous impact on countries that have done nothing to contribute to global warming.”

Iran executes one person every 6 hours, says human rights group

The Eiffel Tower with a banner reading
The Eiffel Tower in January, with a banner in support for protests across Iran. (Michel Euler/AP)

A report published by Iran Human Rights (IHR), a nonprofit organization that monitors rights in the ultraconservative Islamic state, claimed that Iran has executed one person every six hours over the last 10 days, the Telegraph reported on Sunday. IHR said 42 people had been killed in just 10 days. More than 20 of those belonged to an ethnic minority group. The executions, according to the report, were linked to drug offenses, but only two of the 42 killed were officially announced by Iranian authorities.

Thailand’s election facing scrutiny over widespread complaints

People walk past electoral campaign posters in Bangkok.
Thailand will hold general elections on May 14. (Chalinee Thirasupa/Reuters)

A monitoring group in Thailand has criticized the country’s election commission after receiving 300 complaints, Reuters reported on Monday. The People's Network to Monitor Elections, a group of nongovernment organizations, said people had complained about missing names, mistakes on mailed ballots and incomplete lists of candidates at voting polls. The Election Commission of Thailand said it had received only 92 objections, but investigations were ongoing. The May 14 election could bring about the end of a nine-year-long military rule.