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Israel government to delay judiciary bill amid protests

Israeli Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir says he has agreed to delay the government’s overhaul of the judiciary.

ISRAEL GOVERNMENT Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir says he backed a postponement of a bill to the next session of parliament.
March 28, 2023
28 March 2023

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has delayed a decision on bitterly contested plans for a judicial overhaul until next month amid fears the crisis could fracture his coalition or escalate into violence.

It was unclear how far the bill’s delay to the next parliamentary session, announced by ultranationalist coalition partner Jewish Power, will satisfy either side or cool a crisis the army chief said on Monday made “this hour different to any before”.

A coalition partner, Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, said he had agreed to the postponement in exchange for a commitment to submit the legislation in the next session of parliament.

Opponents of the plan to tighten parliament’s control over judicial processes call it a threat to democracy and have mobilised huge protests against it. 

Supporters of the legislation, including nationalist football fans, have promised counter demonstrations.

Flights from Ben Gurion airport were grounded and seaports, banks, hospitals and medical services were also set to stop work as the head of labour union Histadrut called for a general strike to stop the judicial overhaul going ahead.

Army chief of staff Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi said on Monday: “We have not known such days of external threats coalescing while a storm is brewing at home”.

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