Crisis in Israel: General strike and demonstrations pending Benjamin Netanyahu’s gesture

The political and social crisis in Israel took a sharp turn for the worse on Monday. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to be on the verge of stalling his controversial judicial reform plan, which the extremist wing of his coalition rejects. The main union immediately called a general strike, followed by several other sectors. At Tel Aviv International Airport, flights no longer depart. Demonstrations resumed the day after the restless night. Police fear clashes between supporters and opponents of the government plan.

The ruling coalition hasCombines right-wing, far-right and ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties, His Justice is torn by the Prime Minister’s desire to stall the process of passing the bill. Influential members of Benjamin Netanyahu’s party, Likud, are encouraging him to retire. But his far-right allies are threatening to leave the coalition if the plan is put on hold.

Divided government

Israeli media reported Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech on Monday morning. The head of government was about to announce the suspension of the reform that completes the parliamentary curriculum. But the statement was postponed and Benjamin Netanyahu resumed consultations with his government partners.

National Defense Minister Itamar Ben-Ghir, who is on the far right of the Israeli political spectrum, has openly opposed the suspension of reform. “Judicial reform must not be stopped and anarchy must not be surrendered”he wrote on Twitter.

Other ministers, such as Economy Nir Bargat, are calling for the Prime Minister’s support in his desire to suspend the process. These tensions could shake the Israeli state.

Immediate general strike, closure of Ben Gurion and embassies

At the same time, the pressure from the street does not weaken. The Histadrut, the country’s main trade union centre, has called for an immediate general strike. “As soon as this press conference is over, the government of Israel is shutting down. Our aim is to stop the legislative process, and we will do that.”, said Arnon Bar David, who leads the organization. The workers’ union at Ben Gurion International Airport announced an immediate grounding of flight departures.

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