Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to postpone his controversial judicial reform plan following mass protests at home and international criticism. The proposed reforms were aimed at limiting the power of Israel's Supreme Court, which many critics have argued would undermine the country's democratic institutions.
The decision to delay the implementation of the reforms came after thousands of Israelis took to the streets over the weekend in protest against what they saw as an attack on their democratic rights. Protests were also held outside Israeli embassies around the world, with demonstrators calling for Netanyahu to abandon his plans.
In a statement released by his office, Netanyahu said that he had listened to "the voices from across Israeli society" and was postponing any further action on judicial reform until further notice. He added that he remained committed to strengthening Israel's democracy but acknowledged that there was a need for broader consultation before any changes could be made.
Critics of Netanyahu's proposed reforms argue that they are part of a wider attempt by him and his right-wing allies to consolidate power and silence dissenting voices. The proposals included measures such as reducing Supreme Court oversight over legislation passed by parliament and allowing parliamentarians greater influence over appointments to senior legal positions.
International human rights groups have also expressed concern about the impact these changes would have on Israel's democracy. Amnesty International called them "a serious threat" while Human Rights Watch accused Netanyahu of trying "to undermine checks and balances."
However, supporters of the government argue that these changes are necessary in order to restore balance between different branches of government in Israel. They point out that other democracies such as Britain do not have strong constitutional courts like those in Israel, arguing that this is proof enough that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to democratic governance.
Netanyahu will now face renewed pressure from opponents who want him to scrap these proposals altogether rather than just delay their implementation. However, the prime minister has shown no signs of backing down from his commitment to reforming Israel's judiciary, suggesting that this issue is far from over.