Netanyahu postpones speech on judicial reform, reportedly going to stop it | News

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was set to announce today that he is halting the push for controversial judicial reform, The Times of Israel (TOI) website reported, according to several Israeli media outlets. When he will speak to the public, however, is unclear at this time. According to Israel’s Channel 12 TV, he postponed the planned speech after a coalition ally urged him not to back down on reform.

Meanwhile, the Israeli trade union called a general strike to protest the reform. Due to this, departures from Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport were immediately suspended.

Early in the morning, President Yitzhak Herzog again called on Netanyahu to back off from pushing through the controversial judicial reform. At 14:00 today (13:00 CET), the leaders of the protests against the reform called a demonstration in front of the parliament building. Trains bound for Jerusalem are now packed with protesters, many of whom TOI said have been given time off work to come to the demonstration.

The judicial reform, which would give the coalition control over the appointment of supreme court judges and allow the government to override court decisions with a simple parliamentary majority, has sparked mass protests for weeks. Opponents of the proposal say it will lead to a weakening of democracy. Supporters of the reform, on the other hand, claim that the changes are necessary to limit activist judges who, according to them, interfere in politics. Tensions in the streets escalated on Sunday after Netanyahu fired Defense Minister Yoav Galant, who criticized his reform plans on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Israel’s Parliamentary Committee on the Constitution, Law and Justice this morning gave the green light to a bill on the appointment of judges. The final approval of the law will now be voted on in the plenary session. According to information in the Israeli media, several opposition MPs left the committee during today’s session.

All reports that Netanyahu could announce a suspension of the controversial judicial reform cite “sources close to the prime minister.” Under what conditions he could do so is not clear at this time. According to The Times of Israel, Netanyahu has postponed a planned public address for this morning because the far-right parties in the coalition are threatening to bring down the government if he abandons the reform.

The head of Israel’s Histadrut trade union, Arnon Bar-David, in the morning, as expected, appealed to Netanyahu to stop the approval of the reform and called a general strike. “Bring the country back to sanity. If you don’t announce at the press conference today that you have changed your mind, we will go on strike,” said Bar-David. The Histadrut represents more than 700,000 workers in health, transport and banking, among many other fields, so a strike could paralyze a large part of Israel’s economy. Israeli universities have already announced a strike for today.

Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid called on Netanyahu to reinstate Defense Minister Galant and stop judicial reform. “Galant was dismissed for one reason – he spoke the truth. He did not threaten, he did not give an ultimatum, but he warned of the collapse of the people’s army in the face of a government that tries to reject reality,” said Lapid. “Currently, Israel cannot afford to change the defense minister, given the risks in all areas. We’ve never been closer to breaking up,” he added.

Source: Zprávy – by

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