After several weeks of mass protests in different cities across Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finally agreed to delay the extreme reforms he intended to make in Israel’s Supreme Court.
It was on this Sunday night that like many other days and nights during the several past weeks, tens of thousands of Israelis took to the streets to protest against the unprecedented and shocking reforms that the Netanyahu government announced to make in Israel’s Supreme Court.
But Sunday night’s protests were different in that people coming to the streets in various cities were way more furious at Netanyahu after he abruptly fired his defense minister for challenging the Israeli leader’s judicial changes plan. Thousands of angry demonstrators in Tel Aviv, for example, blocked a main highway and lit large bonfires. Many of them even gathered outside Netanyahu’s private home in Jerusalem which was protected by lines of security guards.
Gallant was the first senior member of the ruling Likud party who dared to speak out against Netanyahu and his judicial overhaul plan, saying that the protests, which even included military and intelligence officials, was gravely threatening the unity of Israel’s defense forces.
People finally defeated Netanyahu
Under pressure created by the solidarity and unity of protestors for weeks, Netanyahu finally surrendered and on Monday evening, he announced a delay in his judicial overhaul plan, asserting that he changed his mind because he wanted to give time to seek a compromise over the contentious package with his political opponents.
“When there’s an opportunity to avoid civil war through dialogue, I, as prime minister, am taking a timeout for dialogue,” Netanyahu said in a nationally televised address, adding that “I am determined to pass judicial reform but out of a sense of national responsibility, out of a will to prevent a rupture among our people, I have decided to pause the second and third readings of the bill and I call for an attempt to achieve a broad consensus.”
Hours before Netanyahu decided to eat humble pie and step back from executing his controversial plan, Israel’s president Isaac Herzog had urged the Prime Minister to “immediately halt the overhaul”, calling on the government to put aside political considerations for the sake of Israel; “The entire nation is rapt with deep worry. Our security, economy, society — all are under threat,” he said. “Wake up now!”
Opposition Leader Yair Lapid also warned Netanyahu after Sunday night’s protests; “We’ve never been closer to falling apart. Our national security is at risk, our economy is crumbling, our foreign relations are at their lowest point ever, we don’t know what to say to our children about their future in this country,” Lapid said.
Netanyahu was also strongly warned by the Histadrut Labour Federation, representing hundreds of thousands of workers in Israel; “Bring back the country’s sanity. If you don’t announce in a news conference today that you changed your mind, we will go on strike,” the Federation warned Netanyahu in an ultimatum issued earlier on Monday.