Netanyahu postpones judicial reform after riots in Israel

Opposition to the prime minister's plan is further stoking tensions among military commanders.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed late Monday to postpone his judicial reform plan until the next session of Parliament, according to a statement issued by one of the coalition government partners, following serious riots across the country. As part of the agreement, a National Guard will be created, reporting to the Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben-Gvir. "I agreed to withdraw the veto on the postponement of the judicial reform in exchange for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's commitment that this reform will be brought to the Knesset for approval," said ultra-nationalist Minister Ben-Gvir.

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed this his defense minister and fellow Likud member, Yoav Gallant on Sunday. The government has been criticizing his controversial judicial reform plan, which has been strongly contested by hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens in the streets of the country's largest cities. Gallant had asked the Israeli parliament, Knesset, to delay its decision on Netanyahu's bill until after the Pesach  (Passover) holiday.

Over the past few weeks, Prime Minister Netanyahu has faced notable critics of his plan: former prime ministers and defense officials, prominent American Jews, Israel's attorney general, as well as the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who have turned out to protest. However, he may be unable ignore the opposition of a key institution: the powerful and influential Israeli army. A growing number of Israeli reserves have threatened in recent weeks to withdraw from voluntary service if the conservative government, which took power late last year, goes ahead with its controversial judicial reform plan, army sources say.

The coalition government was scheduled to approve the disputed judicial reform plan this week, under which elected officials would have more power to choose Supreme Court justices, would lower the retirement age for judges to 67 and would allow the Knesset to annul court decisions with a simple majority.