Netanyahu breaks silence to call on protesters to 'act responsibly'

The embattled PM is rumoured to be considering a halt on plans for judicial reform


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seen during a discussion and a vote in the assembly hall of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, on March 22, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** ???? ????? ????? ???? ???? ??? ?????? ?????? ??????

Benjamin Netanyahu has broken his silence to call on protesters to act responsibly amidst widespread disruption across Israel.

The embattled Prime Minister, who is reportedly preparing to announce a suspension of his judicial reform plans, tweeted a call for calm around lunchtime on Monday, his first communication since firing defence minister Yoav Galant on Sunday night.

In his tweet, Netanyahu said: "I call on all the demonstrators in Jerusalem, on the right and the left, to behave responsibly and not to act violently. We are brotherly people."

This morning, trades unions in Israel announced they were calling for a general strike as thousands of protesters took to the streets of Israel's major cities to continue a weekslong protest against Netanyahu's government reforms.

The Histadrut labor federation chairman Arnon Bar-David said that workers had been pushed to their limit. At a press conference earlier today he said: “It’s time to say so much. There is a limit to how much you can stand back. I tried to avoid a strike and a shutdown, but it is impossible to stay in the face of this discrimination and polarization."

Immediately following the announcement of the general strike, the head of the workers union at Ben-Gurion Airport announced an immediate stop to departures at Israel’s main airport, suspending flights for over four hours.

“I ordered the immediate halt of takeoffs at the airport,” Israel Airports Authority workers committee chairman Pinchas Idan said.

Other groups joining the industrial action include Israel's diplomatic corps as well as Mcdonald's staff across the country's 200 locations.

On the other side of the debate, firebrand security minister Itamar Ben Gvir said he'd quite the government if reform plans were halted and reportedly could be heard shouting at Netanyahu in a Knesset committee room earlier today.

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