Opposition politician and former Defense Secretary Benny Gantz said he welcomed Netanyahu’s decision. “Better late than never.” He was ready to go into talks led by President Isaac Herzog “immediately” and “with an outstretched hand”. So far, Herzog had tried in vain to mediate between supporters and opponents of the reform.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu announced on Monday a “pause” in the controversial judicial reform being pushed by his right-wing religious government after weeks of violent popular protests. Netanyahu said in a televised speech on Monday evening that the individual legislative projects for judicial reform should only be passed after the start of the new parliamentary term in mid-April.

The government’s plans have been causing mass protests in Israel for weeks. The plan aims to reduce the powers of the judiciary and the Supreme Court and strengthen the position of Parliament and the Prime Minister. Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, says the reform is necessary to restore balance in the separation of powers. Critics, on the other hand, fear that the separation of powers will be abolished and democracy in Israel will be undermined.