The opposition is entrenched in broad sectors of society, including business leaders and senior legal officials. Even the country’s military, seen as a beacon of stability by Israel’s Jewish majority, is embroiled in political conflict, as some reservists refuse to report for duty over the changes. Israel’s international allies have also expressed concern.

The law to protect Netanyahu passed 61-47 in Israel’s 120-seat Knesset, or parliament.

It stipulates that a prime minister can only be deemed unfit to govern for health or mental reasons and that only he or his government can make that decision. It comes after the country’s attorney general has faced increasing calls from Netanyahu’s opponents to declare him unfit to rule over his legal troubles. The attorney general has already barred Netanyahu from participating in the legal review, saying he risks a conflict of interest because of his corruption trial.

The Movement for Quality Government in Israel, a good governance organization, said it was challenging the law in court, in what could set up the first showdown between judges and the government over legal changes. Experts say the reform could trigger a constitutional crisis that would leave Israel in chaos over who should be obeyed, the government or the courts.

On Thursday, protesters launched a fourth day of weekday demonstrations. They blocked major thoroughfares, set tires on fire near a major seaport and hung a large Israeli flag and a banner bearing the country’s Declaration of Independence on the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City. Police said they have made several arrests across the country. Shikma Bressler, one of the protest leaders, was among those arrested, organizers said.

Protesters blocked the main highway on the Tel Aviv coast and police used water cannons to disperse protesters in that city and Haifa in the north.

Netanyahu called on opposition leaders to «stop the lawlessness immediately» after what he said was an attack on Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter, a former head of the Shin Bet national security agency. Video on social media showed a protester swinging his flagpole in Dichter’s direction, hitting him once on the head, but he appeared uninjured and kept walking.

A protest was planned later that day in a large ultra-Orthodox city near Tel Aviv. Demonstration organizers say the demonstration there is meant to convince that community that their rights are in jeopardy because of the reform. Ultra-Orthodox leaders view the demonstration among themselves as a provocation.