Netanyahu to pause judicial overhaul plans after night of mass protests

Netanyahu to pause judicial overhaul plans after night of mass protests
Israeli President Issac Herzog called PM Netanyahu to freeze judicial legislation on Monday after a night-long anti-government protest across Israeli cities.
2 min read
27 March, 2023
Police officers intervene in protesters to re-open the Ayalon highway after it was blocked by demonstrators staging a protest in response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's surprise sacking of his defense minister Yoav Gallant. [Getty]

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly told his coalition partners he will pause the judicial overhaul plans which have divided Israelis and thrown the country in turmoil, according to the country's official broadcaster Kan.

 Israel's President Issac Herzog called on Netanyahu to cancel the plans to make changes to the judiciary, which has sparked mass protests and strikes in Israel

"Last night we witnessed difficult scenes...Our security, economy, society — all are under threat," he said.

"For the sake of the unity of the People of Israel, for the sake of the necessary responsibility, I call on you to halt the legislative process immediately," the statement added. 

On Sunday evening, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu fired Yoav Galant, his defence minister, for calling a halt to controversial legislation pushed by the ruling coalition that would significantly alter the process of selecting supreme judges and curb the high court's powers over the Knesset and government decisions. 

The decision to fire Galant triggered another night of protests at an unprecedented level. 

More protests are planned for Monday, at 2pm local time, outside the Knesset in West Jerusalem. At the same time, schools, banks, and even the airport have shut down as part of a general strike in opposition to the judicial overhaul planned by Netanyahu's government. 


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Despite the growing momentum against the government, the far-right Otzma Yehudit party has urged the Israeli PM to press ahead with legislation. 

Netanyahu had been expected to make a televised statement on Monday morning announcing the plans had been suspended. But, amid reports that his nationalist-religious coalition risked breaking apart, Israeli TV stations said the statement was postponed.

Earlier, a source in his Likud party and another source closely involved in the legislation said to several media outlets that Netanyahu would suspend the overhaul, which has ignited some of Israel's biggest-ever demonstrations and drew an intervention by the head of state.