Jerusalem, Israel | BAZZUP | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared on Monday night that he would delay by approximately a month the passage of his divisive proposal to reform the nation’s judiciary in order to facilitate “conversation” between coalition and opposition members.
When tens of thousands of Israelis demonstrated outside the parliament on Monday and a countrywide strike began earlier in the day to protest the revamp, he made the comments in a speech that was broadcast on television.
The legislation will be put on hold, according to Netanyahu, to “give time to attempt to obtain a wide agreement” on the revisions.
The legislation blitz would resume after the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, meets again on April 30 following the Passover holiday, he said.
The suspension is not real, according to opponents of the judicial reform, who denied Netanyahu’s assertion, because there will be no debate or voting during the Knesset’s break, which starts on Monday.
One of the major organizers of the demonstrations against the reform plan, Orly Bar-Lev, posted on Twitter, “The struggle continues. “We will be on the street,” she said, “as long as the prime minister and his far-right supporters intend to resume the legislation.”
The national strike that crippled the Israeli economy on Monday will finish on Tuesday, according to Israel’s largest trade union, Histadrut, which represents 800,000 workers in the infrastructure, banking, transportation, health, and other sectors.
Outbound flights, which had been suspended in the morning as a result of the strike, have resumed, according to a statement from the Israel Airports Authority.
The opposition head of the National Unity party, Benny Gantz, announced during a live news conference that he and parliamentarians from his party would meet with coalition leaders in Jerusalem at the home of Israeli President Isaac Herzog.
Yair Lapid, the leader of the opposition, did not instantly support Netanyahu’s assertion but stated that he is always open to debate. Lapid claimed during a live-streamed news conference that despite Netanyahu’s repeated calls for dialogue, he had continued to move forward with the reforms without stopping for discussions.
The demonstration should continue with the aim of creating an Israeli constitution, Lapid said, adding that “we are confronting the worst crisis in Israel’s history.”
Tens of thousands have taken to the streets in protests, blocked key highways throughout Israel, and demonstrated in front of the Knesset in Jerusalem during the past few weeks in response to the revamp, which is being proposed by the ruling coalition and is intended to limit judicial power.
Manufacturing facilities, banks, shopping centers, and local government offices all joined the countrywide strike on Monday and suspended operations. The Israeli Medical Association, in the meantime, declared a one-day strike at all public hospitals and neighborhood clinics.
Two of Israel’s biggest mall companies, the Azrieli Group and BIG Group, joined the strike around noon and closed dozens of their stores nationwide.