By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
JERUSALEM (Worthy News) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged his nation to avoid civil war after suspending planned judicial reforms that prompted protests and strikes across the Jewish state.
“When there’s an opportunity to avoid civil war through dialogue, I, as prime minister, am taking a timeout for dialogue,” Netanyahu said in a nationally televised address.
He struck a conciliatory tone but also stressed he was determined to proceed with the judicial system changes.
The proposed bill has come under criticism from opponents who fear it increases political control over the judiciary.
It would give the executive control over appointing judges to the Supreme Court and allow the government to override court rulings based on a parliamentary majority.
The government claims the overhaul is needed to rein in activist judges, but opponents see it as undermining legal checks and balances and a threat to Israel’s democracy.
However, addressing the nation after a day of demonstrations, Netanyahu said: “I’m not ready to divide the nation into pieces. We are facing a crisis that is a real threat to the national unity of our people.”
The growing resistance to Netanyahu’s plan saw Israel’s leader dismiss his defense minister over the weekend after Yoav Galant called for the reforms to be paused.
On Monday, Isaac Herzog, Israel’s president, who plays a largely ceremonial role in government, also urged Netanyahu to halt the overhaul quickly.
“The entire nation is rapt with deep worry. Our security, economy, society – all are under threat,” Herzog said in a statement. “Wake up now!”
The plan has now been delayed until after the Knesset – Israel’s parliament – recesses for the Passover holiday, Netanyahu suggested.
It will return for its next parliamentary session at the end of April.
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