Biden calls Israel's Netanyahu with judicial plan 'concern'
WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — President Joe Biden spoke Sunday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “express concern” over his government’s planned overhaul of the country’s judicial system that has sparked widespread protests across Israel and to encourage compromise.
The White House said Biden reiterated U.S. concerns about the measure to roll back the judiciary’s insulation from the country’s political system, in a call a senior administration official described as candid and constructive. There was no immediate indication that Netanyahu was shying away from the action, after rejecting a compromise last week offered by the country’s figurehead president.
Netanyahu said Sunday the legal changes would be carried out responsibly while protecting the basic rights of all Israelis. His government — the country’s most right-wing ever — says the overhaul is meant to correct an imbalance that has given the courts too much power and prevented lawmakers from carrying out the voting public’s will.
Critics say it will upend Israel’s delicate system of checks and balances and slide the country toward authoritarianism. Opponents of the measure have carried out disruptive protests, and has even embroiled the country's military, after more than 700 elite officers from the Air Force, special forces, and Mossad said they would stop volunteering for duty.
Madhani reported from Washington.
Aamer Madhani And Zeke Miller, The Associated Press