Israeli defense chief calls for delay on judicial reform bill

Israeli defense chief calls for delay on judicial reform bill

Yoav Gallant urges government to adopt softened version of draft law seeking to curb top court's powers over government

By Said Amori, Muhammed Semiz, and Firdevs Bulut Kartal

TORONTO (AA) — Israel's defense minister on Friday called for a vote on a controversial judicial reform bill in parliament to be postponed, local media reported.

After months of political turmoil over the planned overhaul of the judiciary, Yoav Gallant urged the government to delay the vote on the draft law, expressing worry over the situation in the country, according to private news broadcaster Channel 12.

The Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation (KAN) reported that Gallant urged the government to adopt a "softened" version of the bill that seeks to curb the Supreme Court's powers over the government.

It passed an initial vote in the Knesset on July 10.

At a demonstration near the Defense Ministry building in Tel Aviv earlier this week, hundreds of volunteer reservists signed a petition vowing to leave the army in protest if the measure, which restricts the powers of the judiciary, is ratified.

Demonstrators at the event urged Gallant to halt the legislation that they said left the military in a state of "fragmentation."

The Israeli opposition calls the planned judicial reform a power grab in favor of executive authority, accusing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is on trial on corruption charges, of using the judicial overhaul to protect himself from the courts.

Netanyahu has denied any link between the proposed changes and his own case.

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