Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that a package of controversial judicial reforms would be delayed, a move that was welcomed by the US and UK.
Israel's largest labor union called off a general strike following Netanyahu's announcement – but warned it would take further action if the reforms were revived.
Netanyahu's package had triggered months of sustained protests that rocked the country. The crisis deepened Sunday when his office announced the firing of Defense Minister Yoav Gallant after he became the first cabinet member to call for a pause to the controversial plans.
Here are the latest headlines:
- Netanyahu delays changes: Netanyahu announced that he will delay the package of controversial legislation, saying that he is "aware of the tensions" and is "listening to the people." He said he would delay the second and third votes on the remaining legislation until after the Knesset’s Passover recess in April “to give time for a real chance for a real debate," but insisted that the overhaul was necessary.
- General strike called off: The leader of the Histadrut labor union called for an end to general strike following Netanyahu's announcement. “The general strike stops from this moment,” Arnon Bar-David announced. But, he warned: “If the prime minister returns to aggressive legislation, he’ll find us facing him. Legislation without consent will be met with a general strike.”
- US welcomes move: The White House says it welcomes the delay. “We welcome this announcement as an opportunity to create additional time and space for compromise. A compromise is precisely what we have been calling for,” said press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
- UK hails Netanyahu decision: The UK “welcomes the decision today by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to pause legislation to reform Israel’s judiciary," said Foreign Secretary James Cleverly. "It is vital that the shared democratic values that underpin that relationship are upheld, and a robust system of checks and balances are preserved,” he added.
- Embassy reopens: The Israeli embassy in Washington is re-opening today after a closure due to embassy staff striking under instruction from Histadrut. The “strike is over and the embassy is reopened,” embassy spokesperson Elad Strohmayer told CNN.