Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Monday the postponement of the judicial reform legislation to the summer amid soaring tensions between the opponents and proponents.
Netanyahu said that either way, his government would bring a reform that will “return the balance that was lost between the [government] branches,” while “safeguarding and even strengthening individual rights.”
The Zionist prime minister criticized an “extreme” minority amongst the opponents of the reforms. Refusal to deploy for reserve duty signals “the end of our country,” and those who support this, or who call for anarchy and violence, are willing to tear the “country” apart, Netanyahu said.
The Israeli prime minister added that the country was on a “dangerous path,” and that he would not allow it to descend into civil war. He thanked the pro-reform camp for attending a large rally outside the Knesset on Monday evening, and asked that they “continue acting responsibly and not deteriorate into provocations.”
For his part, Zionist President Isaac Herzog wrote in a statement following Netanyahu’s announcement: “Stopping the legislation is the right thing. “This is the time to start an honest, serious and responsible conversation that will quickly calm [tensions] and lower the flames.”
“For the sake of our unity and for the ‘future of our children’, we need to start talking here and now,” he wrote.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant also released a statement on Monday night in support of Netanyahu’s postponement of the judicial reform legislation.
The government will approve at its next meeting a decision to form a “National “Guard and subjugate it to “National” Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, in exchange for Ben-Gvir’s party, Otzma Yehudit, promising not to leave the government over Netanyahu’s intention to postpone the legislation of the first judicial reform bill.
“The reform will pass,” tweeted Ben-Gvir on Monday night. “The National Guard will be established. The budget I requested for the National Security Ministry will be passed in its entirety.”
Ben-Gvir on Monday reportedly threatened to quit the government if Netanyahu decided to freeze the legislation until after the Knesset recess between April 2-30. The coalition announced last week that the first bill, that would give the coalition a majority in Israel’s Judicial Appointments Committee, would pass before the Knesset recesses.
Thousands of protesters in favor of the judicial reform gathered next to the Supreme Court in Jerusalem on Monday evening, with signs reading “leftist traitors.”
Hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets on Sunday and Monday in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem (Al-Quds), Haifa, and the rest of the occupied cities amid a public strike.
— HumanDilemma (@HumanDilemma_) March 27, 2023
Source: Israeli media