Israelis awoke on Monday to anarchy as a result of demonstrations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposed judicial reform.
Israelis awoke on Monday to an uprising against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s judicial reform that had taken over the entire nation.
Israeli embassies around the world suspended operations in support of protesters, and flights at Ben Gurion International Airport were grounded.
Police sources cited by Haaretz claim that over 80,000 anti-government demonstrators have gathered in front of the Knesset in Jerusalem.
“We don’t have another country; we don’t have another homeland,” former defense minister and opposition leader Benny Gantz said. There is only one option available to us—a democratic and Jewish nation. ”
Right-wing members of Netanyahu’s coalition seemed prepared for a protracted battle.
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich joined calls earlier on Monday for a counter-demonstration in Jerusalem in support of the judicial reforms.
“Come to Jerusalem,” he said in a statement, according to Times of Israel.
“We must not stop the reform aimed at fixing the justice system and Israeli democracy. We must not surrender to violence, anarchy, military service refusals and wild strikes.
Itamar Ben-Gvir, the far-right minister for national security, also tweeted his support for counterprotests.
“Today we stop being silent. Right wakes up today. Spread further,” he wrote, accompanied by a poster with details for the rally outside the Knesset on Monday evening.
In spite of his continued support for the government from the outside, Ben-Gvir made a resignation threat if the reforms were stopped.
By Monday evening, however, Netanyahu blinked. The Israeli prime minister made the controversial decision to postpone the reform of the nation’s courts.
He informed the nation’s legislature, “I have decided to pause the second and third readings of the bill out of a sense of national responsibility, out of a will to prevent a rupture among our people.
In exchange for allowing the formation of a “national guard” devoted to his ministry, Ben Gvir consented to the delay.
Palestinian analyst Ameer Makhoul told reporters that Netanyahu’s promise to far-right minister Itamar Ben-Gvir of the creation of a “National Guard” was a bigger win for the far-right than the reforms themselves. Makhoul is based in the Israeli city of Haifa.
He stated that the National Guard, which Ben-Gvir claims is necessary to increase Israel’s security and would be loyal to his National Security Ministry, would have anti-Palestinian sentiments as its “core ideology.”
Opponents of Netanyahu applauded the move. Yair Lapid, the leader of the Israeli opposition, said that he was willing to talk, but only if the government’s announcement of a pause was true.
In a TV address, he said, “If the legislation truly and totally stops, we are ready to engage in a real dialogue.” However, he wanted to make sure, “that there is no ruse or bluff” on the part of Netanyahu.
Arnon Bar-David, chairman of the Histadrut labor federation, praised Netanyahu for taking the action and offered to assist in the formulation of a compromise reform. Israel’s primary labor union also called off a nationwide strike on Monday night.
The pause comes after numerous warnings that Israel was in danger of civil war. Earlier on Monday, thousands of military reservists threatened not to serve in the military if the reform passed, prompting Israel’s army chief of staff to issue a warning that a “storm is brewing at home.”