Netanyahu says security flareup could delay Israel judicial overhaul bill

Netanyahu says security flareup could delay Israel judicial overhaul bill
Israel's prime minister has vowed to push through legislation on a judicial overhaul plan which has ignited large protests in recent months, but said a security escalation could put that on hold.
2 min read
12 July, 2023
Netanyahu's government is under growing pressure because of the bill [Getty]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he could be forced to put on hold legislation on his controversial judicial plan in case there was a deterioration in security, the Times of Israel reported.

The premier reportedly told his associates that a security flareup could be the one thing that forces him to delay final votes on the first piece of legislation that his hardline coalition government wants to pass by the end of July.

It was not clear if Netanyahu was talking about internal or external security issues, but his Likud party told the Kan broadcaster that he has no intention to delay the legislation.

The government temporarily paused the divisive overhaul in March in the wake of a general strike. But in the absence of lasting negotiations with the opposition, the cabinet is now determined to press on with the legislative process.

The White House on Tuesday called on Israel to respect the right of peaceful assembly after police arrested dozens of protesters.

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"We urge authorities to protect and respect the right of peaceful assembly," a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council said. "It is clear there is significant debate and discussion in Israel on the proposed plan.  Such debates are a healthy part of a vibrant democracy."

Protests erupted across Israel on Tuesday, hours after the Knesset passed, in a first reading, the controversial bill that would limit court powers, which critics say would greatly inhibit the independence of the judiciary and "threaten democracy".

Protesters blocked roads across Israel and gathered at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, which saw clashes with police.

As well as the large demonstrations, Israel has grown anxious on multiple fronts. Its forces have carried out several deadly raids inside occupied Palestinian territories in the past few months, as tensions also heighten on its northern frontier with Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group.

(Agencies contributed to this report)