Demonstrations Persist After Judicial Reform Paused

Security forces use a water cannon to disperse the people attending a demonstration against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, in Tel Aviv, Monday. (REUTERS/Itai Ron)

Demonstrations continued following Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s announcement to put the judicial reform on hold until the summer in order to find a compromise on the legislation.

“I am taking a break for dialogue. I am giving it a real opportunity for real dialogue to reach a wide agreement,” he said in a media address. “I have decided to pause the advancement of the law in this Knesset session in order to give time for negotiations and agreement.

“When there’s an opportunity to avoid a civil war, I – as prime minister – must give an opportunity to get to an agreement,” he said.

Protest organizers decried Netanyahu’s address, saying it was “an admission of the government’s intention to bring the dictatorship laws back to the table in the next parliamentary session, harming the economy and the security of the country.”

They vowed to continue with the demonstrations: “As long as the legislation continues and is not shelved, we will be on the streets. This is just an attempt to weaken the protests in order to enact Netanyahu’s dictatorship. Now is not the time to reduce the pressure, but to increase it.”

However, Washington welcomed Netanyahu’s announcement and urged Israel’s political leaders to find a compromise.

Meanwhile, protests that began early Monday continued into the night. Demonstrators in Yerushalayim breached police barriers set up by around the prime minister’s residence, while in Tel Aviv tens of thousands blocked the major Ayalon highway. Police deployed water cannons against the demonstrators in Yerushalayim, with tear gas reportedly used on demonstrators in Tel Aviv.

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