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Largest Israeli labor union holds 'emergency meeting' to address judicial reform crisis

Histadrut threatens nationwide strike if there is no compromise solution by Sunday afternoon

Arnon Bar David, chairman of the Histadrut, attends the Eli Horowitz Conference for Economy and Society, organized by Israel Democracy Institute in Jerusalem, June 29, 2021. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Jewish state’s largest labor union, the Histadrut, reportedly held a marathon “emergency meeting” on Saturday night amid growing fears that the Netanyahu government will pass the first part of its controversial judicial overhaul.

Histadrut, or the General Organization of Workers in Israel, is threatening a potential nationwide strike if a compromise solution is not found by 4 p.m. on Sunday.

“If the sides don’t reach an agreed solution in accordance with our proposal, we will convene [Sunday] at 4 p.m. to make decisions regarding further steps,” warned Histadrut chief Arnon Bar-David.

Judicial reform opponents are reportedly pressuring the powerful labor union to declare a general strike in order to prevent the passing of the controversial Reasonableness Standard Bill that would severely limit the court’s ability to review government decisions.

Much of the Israeli business community also opposes the government’s judicial reform plan.

Some 70 prominent business figures urged the Netanyahu-led government to "stop the unilateral legislation and prevent the irreversible damage caused to the Israeli economy, due to the rift that has opened up in the nation and due to the loss of confidence of investors in the Israeli economy.”

Opponents in Israel and abroad have argued that the judicial overhaul risks undermining Israeli democracy. By contrast, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently defended the judicial reform by claiming it would strengthen the country’s democratic nature.

“Tonight, I wish to calm all of you: No matter what, Israel will continue to be a democratic state, will continue to be a liberal state,” Netanyahu stated.

The judicial overhaul controversy has caused much stress across Israeli society. Netanyahu, who has been pressured by both proponents and opponents of the judicial reform, underwent surgery to have a pacemaker implanted on Saturday night. The Sheba Medical Center team has been monitoring Netanyahu's heart since last week, when Netanyahu was released from the hospital with a Holter heart monitoring device after not feeling well, reportedly due to dehydration and a subsequent electrolyte balance.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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