Israeli PM Netanyahu delays judicial overhaul after mass protests

Israelis continue to protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's controversial plans to overhaul the country's legal system. [Photo: Twitter/ Ashok Swain]

As protests in Israel continue, the country’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced a delay in his judicial overhaul plan, saying he wanted to give time to seek a compromise over the contentious package with his political opponents.

Earlier, Israeli embassies and diplomatic missions worldwide were closed following protests against Netanyahu’s judicial overhaul plan, media reports suggested.

According to Reuters, a letter, citing a nationwide strike in Israel declared by the Histadrut labour federation, said Foreign Ministry activities in the country and abroad would be limited to emergency services.

Israel is witnessing a historic protest over a judicial reform, which seeks to override verdicts by the Supreme Court.

Massive protests have erupted in the country, with private and government officials voicing their concerns against the bill pushed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Today, Israel’s labour federation instructed its staff at embassies worldwide to join the strike.

It said the foreign ministry activities in the country and abroad would be limited to emergency services.

On Monday, Israel’s national labour union shut down the country’s busiest airport in Tel Aviv and blocked roads in the city of Ra’anana.

American fast food giant McDonald’s shut down all its branches as part of the general strike.

Israel’s Haaretz reported that at least 80,000 protesters had gathered outside Knesset, the parliament of the country.

Also, three protesters entered Knesset, shouting at Likud’s Education Minister Yoav Kish to resign before being escorted out.

The Embassy of Israel in Washington, DC has also been closed until further notice.

Embassy spokesperson Elad Strohmayer said: “The Embassy of Israel will be closed today until further notice and no consular services will be provided.”

He said the Histadrut, Israel’s largest labor union, instructed all government employees to go on strike, including Israel’s diplomatic missions around the world.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is likely to hold a meeting with far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, after he threatened to resign if the judicial overhaul is shelved. Netanyahu is slated to give a public address later today, where he is expected to announce a temporary freeze of the legislation, Haaretz reported.

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