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Netanyahu Hits Pause On Judicial Reform Amid Protests

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Monday that he would pause advancing legislation on judicial reform after protests broke out across the country, according to Israel National News.

Netanyahu fired his Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who had been one of the first in the government to voice opposition to the prime minister’s reform plan, according to NBC News. The legislation has been pushed off until the upcoming summer term of the Knesset, Israel’s legislative branch, to give elected officials time to further discuss the proposal, according to Israel National News.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said Monday that he and Netanyahu had reached an agreement regarding the heavily contested reform proposal, according to Israel National News.

“I agreed to remove my veto on the postponement of the legislation, in exchange for a commitment from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the legislation will be brought to the Knesset for approval in the next session, if no agreements are reached during the recess.”

On Sunday, Netanyahu fired Gallant for his criticism of the proposal that would modify the country’s Supreme Court and give more power to the Knesset. As a result, thousands of Israelis filled the streets to protest Gallant’s firing and judicial reform.

The protests extended into Monday after Israel’s labor unions announced a strike in opposition to Netanyahu’s reform plan.

The White House released a statement Sunday night from National Security Council Spokesperson Adrienne Watson saying that the U.S. was “deeply troubled” by the situation in Israel.

“As the President recently discussed with Prime Minister Netanyahu, democratic values have always been, and must remain, a hallmark of the U.S.-Israel relationship,” Watson said. “Democratic societies are strengthened by checks and balances, and fundamental changes to a democratic system should be pursued with the broadest possible base of popular support. We continue to strongly urge Israeli leaders to find a compromise as soon as possible.”

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