Protest leader vows action will continue after judicial reforms delayed – live


Israeli protesters light fire and block highway as Netanyahu sacks minister

A protest leader has vowed that demonstrations will continue in Israel after prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced he would delay controversial judicial reforms until next month.

Dr Shikma Bressler, one of the main leaders of the protest movement, said after Mr Netanyahu’s announcement: “As long as the legislation continues and is not shelved, we will be on the streets.”

Dr Bressler said Mr Netanyahu and his coalition colleagues are clearly determined to press ahead with their “dictatorship laws” in the next Knesset session, a month from now.

She said the prime minister’s plan to give the government more power over the courts was “harming the economy and the security of the country.”

Mr Netanyahu yesterday said he would delay his judicial overhaul plan to the next parliamentary session, telling the nation in a televised address: “I’m not ready to divide the nation in pieces.”

In response to his announcement, Israel’s main labour union called off a nationwide strike.

Police in Tel Aviv used a water cannon against demonstrators who took to the streets again last night.


Netanyahu suspends judicial overhaul after day of Israeli turmoil

Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu paused his signature plan to overhaul Israel’s judiciary after a day of nationwide turmoil when workers joined a general strike against the proposal and hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets.

The plans by his nationalist religious coalition to hand control over judicial appointments to the executive while giving parliament the power to overturn Supreme Court rulings has ignited one of the biggest internal crises in Israeli history.

Announcing his decision late on Monday to suspend the plans until parliament returns after the break for the Passover holiday and Independence Day next month, Mr Netanyahu said the crisis required all sides to act responsibly.

“Israeli society is on a dangerous collision course. We are in the midst of a crisis that is endangering the basic unity between us,” he said in a prime time television address.

Namita Singh28 March 2023 04:40


US hails Netanyahu’s delay to reforms

The US welcomes the decision on Monday by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to delay a decision on plans for a judicial overhaul until next month, White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said.

The administration is urging Israeli leaders to find a compromise as soon as possible, Ms Jean-Pierre said.

“We welcome this announcement as an opportunity to create additional time and space for compromise,” she said. “A compromise is precisely what we have been calling for.”

“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,” she added.

Liam James28 March 2023 08:30


Israeli president calls for ‘immediate negotiations on Netanyahu’s reforms

Israel’s president Isaac Herzog has urged prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition party leaders to start an “immediate negotiation process” on judicial reform after Mr Netanyahu delayed his plans to hand the government greater power over the courts, The Times of Israel reports this morning.

In calls with Mr Yetanyahu and Yair Lapid, chair of main opposition party Yesh Atid, and Benny Gantz, Blue and White coalition leader, the president requested each side set up negotiation teams so talks could begin quickly.

Mr Gantz soon after announced that he had asked Knesset members Gideon Sa’ar, Chili Tropper, Orit Farkash-Hacohen, and Ronen Aviani, a lawyer, with leading the talks on behalf of his party, The Times reported.

Liam James28 March 2023 07:57


How Netanyahu judicial plan sparked massive unrest in Israel

Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposed judicial overhaul has unleashed the most intense social unrest in Israel in decades.

Tens of thousands of people have repeatedly taken to the streets against the plan – including spontaneous mass demonstrations that erupted across the country late on Sunday after he fired his defence minister for questioning the overhaul.

Here is a look at how Israel has been plunged into its most serious domestic crisis in decades.

Namita Singh28 March 2023 07:00


UK welcomes Netanyahu’s ‘pause’ to Israel’s controversial judicial overhaul

Britain has welcomed Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s delay to his judicial overhaul that has sparked mass protests.
Foreign secretary James Cleverly urged him to seek a “long-term compromise” with his critics over the widely-criticised plan.

Mr Netanyahu announced the delay to the proposals from Israel’s most right-wing government in history by saying he wanted to “avoid civil war through dialogue”.

His proposed legislation would have protected him from being deemed unfit to rule, which critics say will shield Mr Netanyahu from his corruption trial.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak stressed the importance of upholding “democratic values” to Mr Netanyahu as they met in Downing Street last week.

On Monday Mr Cleverly said: “The UK welcomes the decision today by prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to pause legislation to reform Israel’s judiciary.

“The UK enjoys a deep and historic relationship with Israel. As the prime minister stressed in his meeting with PM Netanyahu last week, it is vital that the shared democratic values that underpin that relationship are upheld, and a robust system of checks and balances are preserved.

“We urge all parties to find common ground and seek a long-term compromise to this sensitive issue.”

Namita Singh28 March 2023 06:45


Is it safe to travel to Israel?

Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets across Israel in a unified show of strength in protest against prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Since the start of 2023, weekly protests have been held in opposition to Mr Netanyahu’s controversial plans to overhaul the judiciary.

Protesters have called on the reforms to be scrapped and for the prime minister to resign. On Sunday, however, Mr Netanyahu fired his defence minister after the former army general echoed the protesters’ calls to bring proposed reforms to a halt, prompting international concern.

But how does this affect travel to Israel? Here’s everything you need to know.

Namita Singh28 March 2023 06:30


Watch: Israeli protesters light fire and block highway as Netanyahu sacks minister

Israeli protesters light fire and block highway as Netanyahu sacks minister

Namita Singh28 March 2023 06:15


Netanyahu still set to attend ‘Summit for Democracy,’ White House says

National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters on Monday that Israel remains one of the 121 nations invited to participate in the summit, which will take place virtually and be hosted by the White House on Wednesday.

My colleague Andrew Feinberg reports:

Namita Singh28 March 2023 06:00


The fallout from the Israel protests will be felt for years to come

The ‘reforms’ proposed by the hard-right coalition strike at the independence of the judiciary – and take away legal checks and balances on political actions, writes our world affairs editor Kim Sengupta.

Namita Singh28 March 2023 05:45


Voices: Israelis are reminding us that protests can work – but they’re not a cure-all

History shows that while popular demonstrations can affect change, there is often a backlash, writes Noah Berlatsky.

Namita Singh28 March 2023 05:30

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