Netanyahu announces halt to judicial reform to ‘prevent civil war’

“There cannot be civil war,” the prime minister said, blaming an “extreme minority.”

By World Israel News Staff

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced he would delay the judicial reform, blaming an “extreme minority” for almost “tearing Israel apart.”

“This minority has violent tendencies,” he said.

“It ignites fire. It threatens elected officials. It talks about civil war. And it calls for refusals to serve, which is a terrible crime,” Netanyahu said.

“Israel cannot exist without the IDF, and the IDF cannot exist with refusals to serve,” he said.

“There must not be civil war,” he said, noting that he had for three months called for his “brothers” in the opposition to enter into a dialogue but was refused.

“We are at the start of a crisis that jeopardizes our basic unity and such a crisis requires us all to act responsibly,” he went on.

According to the premier, National Unity party leader Benny Gantz had promised to “enter in good faith into a dialogue on all the issues. I know there are others who support that sentiment.”

“I stretch out my hand to them.”

He added that his coalition allies backed the move to halt the legislation amending the judicial appointments committee.

Earlier on Monday, the Otzma Yehudit party announced that Netanyahu and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir had reached an agreement to freeze the legislation in return for the formation of a civil “national guard” under Ben-Gvir aimed at bolstering public safety.

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Responding to Netanyahu’s televised address, opposition leader Yair Lapid expressed hope that a dialogue would end with writing a constitution but expressed doubt at Netanyahu’s authenticity.

“If the legislation really does stop, really and totally, we are ready to start genuine dialogue at the President’s Residence,” Lapid said.

“We need to sit together and write the Israeli constitution based on the values of the Declaration of Independence. We need to let the president determine a process for the dialogue and trust him to be an impartial mediator.”

Religious Zionism MK Simcha Rothman, an architect of the judicial reform, said halting the legislation is “a mistake.”