Israel’s opposition leader Benny Gantz said Tuesday that US President Joe Biden’s criticism of planned judicial reforms is “an urgent wake-up call to the Israeli government.”
"President Biden tonight sent an urgent wake-up call to the Israeli government. Damaging relations with the United States, our best friend and our most important ally, is a strategic attack. The Prime Minister must guide his negotiating teams regarding the legislation, act quickly to correct the situation and preserve the Israeli democracy that is at the basis of these values,” Gantz, a former defense minister and military chief, wrote on Twitter.
"No less important, he must act with political and security responsibility -- announce tonight that (Defense) Minister (Yoav) Gallant will remain in his post, remove the security powers from (Finance) Minister (Bezalel) Smotrich and not allow (National Security) Minister (Itamar) Ben-Gvir’s rampage," Gantz added.
Biden said Tuesday that he was “very concerned” over recent developments in Israel, adding he will not be inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House in the “near term.”
“Like many strong supporters of Israel, I'm very concerned. I'm concerned that they get this straight,” Biden told reporters during a visit to North Carolina. “They cannot continue down this road. I've sort of made that clear.”
Biden’s comments came in the wake of mass protests in Israel over the past 12 weeks, with Netanyahu on Monday announcing a temporary suspension of the controversial “judicial reform” plans.
While the opposition calls the plans a government power grab, Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, claims his plans would strengthen democracy and restore the balance between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government.