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Fresh clashes in Israel despite delay to controversial judiciary overhaul

Despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s delay in implementing controversial reforms to Israel’s judiciary, new demonstrations broke out in Tel Aviv.

As the authorities tried to stop protestors from demonstrating, horns could be heard.

Mr Netanyahu stated earlier that his country was in “heart of crisis”.

After widespread protests that involved hundreds of thousands of people, he addressed the nation and said that he would “turn every stone” in order to find a solution.


He stated, “From a will for the prevention of the rift within the nation,” he delayed the second and third readings (of the bill), in order to reach broad consensus.

However, he also warned that Israel is at “a dangerous crossroads”.

The main union representing Israel’s labour force called for a nationwide halt shortly after Bar-David made his speech. Arnon Bar David, the chairman of Histadrut labor federation, stated that “the strike I announced this morning would end.”

He offered his assistance in finding a compromise.

Isaac Herzog, the president of Israel, stated that it was right to stop the legislation and that the widest possible agreement was necessary.

Benny Gantz, former deputy prime minister, said that he would approach dialogue “with an open heart”.

The UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly praised the decision to suspend the legislation and stated that it was vital that the “shared democratic values” that underpin the (UK-Israeli) relationship be upheld.

Image: People at a demonstration in Jerusalem

The proposals would give ministers more control over the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and less power to veto legislation.

An earlier announcement by Mr Netanyahu’s coalition partners indicated that a delay had been reached.

According to coalition member party Jewish Power, the potential overhaul won’t be discussed in parliament now but next month.

According to a party statement, the idea is to “pass reform through dialogue”.

Image Benjamin Netanyahu (right), attends a meeting in the Knesset Monday

Itamar Bengvir, the security minister, stated that he had offered to delay the government’s plans in return for the promise that they would be brought back following the forthcoming parliamentary recess.

“I accepted to remove the veto to refuse the legislation in return for a promise by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, that the legislation would go to the Knesset to be approved in the next session,” Mr Ben-Gvir stated.

Huge demonstrations took place in major cities following Mr Netanyahu’s dismissal of Yoav Galant, his defense minister, for opposing the reforms.

It caused Mr Herzog, a head state figure who is supposed not to be affected by politics, to call Mr Netanyahu to halt the legislative process and saying “Come to your senses!”

Following Sunday’s dismissal by Mr Gallant, Mr Herzog stated that the “eyes” of the entire world were focused on him.

After a strike by the Israel Airports Authority workers’ Committee, all flights were grounded at Ben Gurion Airport.

Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi, the chief of staff of the Israeli army, stated that this time period is “different from any we have ever known”.

He said, “We have never known such days when external threats coalesce, while a storm brewing at home.”

It’s a pause, not a halt

Benjamin Netanyahu finally gave in to the inevitable after hours of hiding from his coalition partners and in emergency negotiations.

A deal was announced as the sun set on an exceptional day in Israel.

Itamar Bengvir, the party, said that he would accept a pause in legislative action.

A pause. It is not a halt.

This is essentially a plan to calm the protests ahead of the Passover holiday and 75th anniversary celebrations next week.

However, I doubt that the demonstrators will view it this way.

It will be read as follows: “We won’t pass the legislation in this week. We’ll let things cool down, and then do it in a few more weeks.”

They won’t be able to accept it.

However, the pause opens up opportunities for dialogue and compromise. Despite the protests growing, the opposition has maintained unity and demanded that the legislation be stopped before they begin negotiations.

This is your chance.

As a token of his support, Mr Netanyahu reportedly allowed Mr Ben-Gvir (the far-right security minister) to establish a National Guard.

This is an interesting fact for many reasons. It again shows how dependent Mr Netanyahu is on the far-right within his coalition.

This is also an example Mr Ben-Gvir’s dissatisfaction at the fact that the national police doesn’t do what he orders them to.

Plus: Who will serve with the National Guard?

This is sort of a victory for the protestors. As protestors have taken to the streets in increasing numbers for 13 weeks, Mr Netanyahu and his aides have not moved a muscle.

They were faced with no choice today as the walls closed in on them.

However, the fight for Israel’s future is not over.


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