Israeli PM Netanyahu says delaying judicial overhaul to avoid ‘civil war’

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday announced a pause to divisive judicial reforms moving through parliament, after months of street rallies that drew tens of thousands.

“Out of a sense of national responsibility, out of a will to prevent a rupture among our people, I have decided to pause the second and third readings of the bill,” he told the nation.

He added he would delay consideration of the bill to the next session of parliament which begins in the second half of April.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog earlier Monday had called for an immediate halt to the legislative process, a day after Netanyahu fired his defense minister Yoav Gallant for making a similar demand.

That sparked a general strike call on Monday from Israel's top trade union chief, Arnon Bar-David, but he called off the action after Netanyahu's address.

“Following the prime minister's announcement I declare the end of the strike,” Bar-David, chairman of the Histadrut trade union confederation, said in a statement.

Flights were disrupted, hospitals stopped non-emergency service, and even diplomats had walked off the job on Monday.

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