After US President Joe Biden advised Netanyahu to abandon his highly-controversial judicial overhaul proposal, the later slammed back at him.
The Democrat leader, speaking to reporters said he was ‘very concerned’ about the health of Israeli democracy, issuing a warning that the country cannot continue down this road for long.
“Like many strong supporters of Israel, I’m very concerned. And I’m concerned that they get this straight. Hopefully, the prime minister will act in a way that he can try to work out some genuine compromise, but that remains to be seen,” said Biden. “I hope he walks away from it.”
When quizzed if America was looking to interfere in the domestic politics of Israel, Biden added, “We don’t want to interfere…Anyway, we’re not interfering. They know my position. They know America’s position. They know the American Jewish position.”
No sooner did Biden have his say, Netanyahu released a response saying Israel would not make decisions based on overseas pressure.
“Israel is a sovereign country which makes its decisions by the will of its people and not based on pressures from abroad, including from the best of friends,” said Netanyahu.
“I have known President Biden for over 40 years, and I appreciate his longstanding commitment to Israel,”
“My administration is committed to strengthening democracy by restoring the proper balance between the three branches of government, which we are striving to achieve via a broad consensus.”
After Netanyahu fired his defence minister on Sunday for speaking against the proposed legislation, the protests across the country, already ongoing for over a month saw an increase in intensity.
By Monday, Netanyahu and his government were forced to press pause on the decision until the next session of the Knesset (Israeli parliament).
“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,” said Netanyahu in a televised broadcast.
There were rumours that backtracking on the legislation may cause serious fissures in the far-right coalition that Netanyahu spearheads. However, so far, the Israeli PM has managed to hold firm despite incessant pressure from nearly every quarter.