Israel tensions ease as Netanyahu puts controversial judicial reform on hold
Following international condemnation and widespread demonstrations for a number of days, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday put the controversial plans for judicial overhaul on hold, saying he is “taking time for further dialogue.”
The leader held an “extremist minority” responsible for the protests. Netanyahu’s national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, made an announcement on Monday regarding the government’s plan being paused until the parliament’s summer session, which begins April 30.
Scores of people across the country have repeatedly taken to the streets in opposition to the reform, including spontaneous mass demonstrations that erupted on Sunday after the top leader dismissed Defence Minister Yoav Gallant for questioning the plans.
While Netanyahu’s office revealed the dismissal in a brief statement late Sunday, the Prime Minister later took to Twitter to write, “We must all stand strong against refusal.” Gallant had been the first senior member of the ruling Likud party to question the reform.
Many fear the overhaul would offer the governing coalition control over judicial appointments and weaken the country’s Supreme Court by enabling parliament to overturn its decisions and limiting judicial review of laws.
While opponents have raised concerns over the controversial reform allowing Netanyahu’s ruling coalition to control what is now an independent judiciary, the government stresses the overhaul would help streamline governance in the face of an interventionist judiciary.
Earlier on Monday, dozens of Israelis held demonstrations outside the parliament, while a number of workers launched a nationwide strike. The move brought a major portion of the country to a standstill and even threatened to paralyse the economy.