As he halted a contentious judicial overhaul plan that had sparked unprecedented street protests and an escalating domestic crisis, Israel’s political factions opposed to embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu started assembling negotiating teams on Tuesday.
But in a deadlock over the crucial question of what kind of country Israel should be, compromise appeared impossible, and Netanyahu’s legacy was on the line. Positions only seem to have solidified.
The main trade union in Israel called for a general strike this week, which sparked three months of protests against the overhaul plan and caused chaos that shut down much of the nation and endangered to cripple the economy.
In a speech delivered during prime time on Monday night, Netanyahu recognized the splits dividing the country and offered a one-month delay for the legislation.
Analysts noted that the decision to fire his defense minister on Sunday night increased the fury and decreased Netanyahu’s support inside the Likud party, leaving Israel’s longest-serving leader with few options.
According to Yohanan Plesner, head of the Israel Democracy Institute, “he knew that he was in a dead end.” And because of his extensive expertise, Netanyahu recognized that it was time to make changes.
The prime minister declared in his speech that he would work to solve with his political rivals to “prevent civil war.” After tens of thousands of people protested in front of the Jerusalem parliament building, Netanyahu spoke.
His declaration seemed to reduce some of the tensions that had been the source of months of upheaval. But, it did not deal with the fundamental problems that have divided Israelis. The law will be passed, according to Netanyahu and his friends, who lead the most right-wing government in Israeli history.
Fega Gutman, a resident of Tel Aviv, remarked on Tuesday, “I feel relief but with doubt.” Over the years, Netanyahu “promised us a lot but sadly didn’t always fulfill.”
Several Israelis took advantage of the break to reflect on the task.
Maor Daniel, also from Tel Aviv, stated, “I feel wonderful today; everything cooled down from yesterday. “We must work together to resolve the issue and find a way to coexist.”
For now, a few anti-government demonstrators dispersed, but they clearly mistrusted Netanyahu and his allies. Nonetheless, a significant group announced it would continue its three-month pattern of staging new protests in Tel Aviv on Saturday night and Tuesday.
The group known as the Umbrella Movement of Resistance against Tyranny issued a statement that read, “The protestors who take to the streets are not foolish.” “The millions of people who have demonstrated up till now won’t give up.”
Following Netanyahu’s declaration, a flurry of phone talks between opposing opposition leaders continued into Tuesday morning.
Several working groups were created as the demonstrations receded and Israel’s most prominent labor union called off its countrywide strike.