Israel's prime minister has made a surprise announcement that he is dropping one of the contentious elements of his plans to overhaul the judiciary after months of protests.
However, Benjamin Netanyahu's comments to The Wall Street Journal did not win over the protest leaders and infuriated his coalition partners.
Mr. Netanyahu stated to a US newspaper in an interview that he was no longer looking to grant the parliament the power to overturn Supreme Court decisions. .
"The concept of a clause that allows the Knesset, the parliament, to override Supreme Court rulings with a simple majority. That, I threw away," he admitted.
Leaders of the protests that have been causing unrest in the nation since the beginning of this year claimed that the suggested changes did not go far enough and vowed to continue their demonstrations.
After being shunned by Western leaders over the proposed judicial reforms, one protester, Tamar Krongrad, told the BBC that Mr. Netanyahu was "throwing sand in the eyes of the audience.".
One interview with one person won't make everything else go away because we are fighting for the soul of our nation, she continued.
While this was going on, Jewish Power party leader and far-right ultranationalist minister Itamar Ben-Gvir accused Prime Minister Netanyahu of "surrendering" to unrest, calling it "a victory for violence and a loss for Israel.".
"Governance and change were the reasons we were elected. One of the pillars of that promise is reform," he tweeted. .
The original changes to strengthen the legislature, according to an ultra-Orthodox minister named Meir Porush, were a requirement for his United Torah Judaism party to join the ruling coalition. Any additional agreements are not acceptable to us, he declared.
In the interview that was captured on camera, Mr. Netanyahu claimed that he was "attentive to the public pulse and to what I think will pass muster.".
He continued by saying that he would still move forward with a contentious suggestion to give the government more authority over judicial appointments and that a current proposal would be changed.
He said, without going into further detail, "It's not going to be the current structure, but it's not going to be the original structure.".
Shortly after being sworn in as the government in December, the right-wingest in Israeli history, unveiled its plans to drastically alter the country's judicial system.
The Supreme Court has long been accused by the Israeli right of meddling in politics and making judgments in fields where it shouldn't be allowed to. .
In the meantime, the court's previous rulings have incensed the ultra-Orthodox minority. .
To prevent the court from invalidating legislation that would have given Jewish seminary students a broad exemption from mandatory military service, ultra-Orthodox leaders sought to pass the so-called "override clause.".
The coalition claims it is enacting changes to put the branches of government back into proper checks and balances, with parliament having more power because it is an elected body. .
But protesters vehemently oppose the reform, claiming it will undermine democracy and threaten the independence of the judiciary. They have planned sizable demonstrations, causing hurtful divisions between the government's supporters and critics.
After weeks of large protests and unrest that shook the financial markets in March, Prime Minister Netanyahu put a halt to the proposed changes in order to engage in negotiations with the opposition under the supervision of the Israeli president in an effort to reach an agreement. These have not yielded any results thus far.
The latest comments made by the prime minister did not inspire Prof. Suzie Navot, a constitutional law expert who has been speaking for the largest opposition party, Yesh Atid, in the discussions at the president's office. .
She referred to recent judicial reforms in Poland that the European Union claimed undermined judicial independence, writing on Twitter that "this is a coup d'etat in the Polish way, which is done a little at a time.".
The Israeli government is currently moving forward with a component of the so-called "reasonable clause" changes by advancing a bill that would prohibit the judicial system from using a "reasonability" standard to overturn decisions and appointments made by all elected officials. .
Ministers are reportedly working on a new version of this, according to reports in the Israeli media.
In response, protest spokesperson Roee Neumann tweeted, "It's not the reasonableness clause, it's dictatorship.". "Resisting is a duty. " .
In his interview with the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Netanyahu also emphasized that while Israel was providing civilian defenses and an alert system for Ukraine, it was unable to provide military systems like the Iron Dome.
Thousands of Palestinian rockets fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip have been successfully intercepted in recent years thanks to the air defense system. According to Mr. Netanyahu, there is a chance that if the technology is shared, it will end up in the hands of the nation's adversaries.
"We have concerns. that if we gave systems to Ukraine, they might end up in Iranian hands and be reverse-engineered, putting us in a position where Israeli systems would be used against Israel.