Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday night announced that the plan to overhaul the judiciary would be delayed, saying he wanted to seek compromise with opponents of the controversial reforms.
“When there’s an opportunity to avoid civil war through dialogue, I, as prime minister, am taking a timeout for dialogue,” Netanyahu said.
Earlier Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said he had agreed with Netanyahu to the delay until the Knesset — the Israeli parliament — reconvened for its summer session on April 30.
Trade union confederation calls off strike
The announcement comes as tens of thousands of Israelis protested against the reforms outside parliament. A nationwide strike that began on Monday, swiftly ended following Netanyahu’s announcement.
“Following the prime minister’s announcement, I declare the end of the strike,” Arnon Bar-David, chairman of the confederation, said in a statement.
The umbrella organization of trade unions, Histadrut, had called for 700,000 workers in health, transit and banking, among other fields, to stop working.
Airport authority said flights from Ben Gurion International Airport had been grounded.
On Sunday, Netanyahu announced that he was dismissing Yoav Gallant as the country’s defense minister. Gallant, who is a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, had called on the government to stop its plans to overhaul the judiciary the day before.
Reaction to the postponement
Israel’s President Isaac Herzog, welcomed the pause and said it was “time for frank, serious and responsible discussion that will lead urgently to calming spirits and lowering the flames.”
There was a sense of cautious optimism from some of Netanyahu’s political opponents, with former centrist Prime Minister Yair Lapid saying if the legislation did come to a stop, his Yesh Atid party would be ready to meet for talks brokered by the president.
“If the government engages in a real and fair dialogue we can come out of this moment of crisis — stronger and more united — and we can turn this into a defining moment in our ability to live together,” Lapid said in a statement.
( Source DW)