Benjamin Netanyahu pauses controversial reforms after riots shake Israel

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EMBATTLED Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu last night delayed plans for judge reforms that had triggered mass protests.

In a TV address, he said he would speak to other parties to try “to reach a broad consensus” and stop a “rift in the nation”.

PolarisProtesters take part in a mass riot in protest against plans by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu[/caption]

GettyThousands of Israelis have taken to the streets as they block Ayalon highway in response to Netanyahuâs’ surprise sacking of defense minister Yoav Gallant[/caption]

One major union called off walkouts but the PM, who is accused of corruption, still faces a huge struggle to unite the nation.

Earlier, tens of thousands of protesters clashed with riot police outside parliament and a national strike was announced.

They were furious at government plans to control the committee appointing judges.

Netanyahu says the new laws will stop the courts over-reaching their powers – but critics say they will help him as he faces trial for corruption.

Head of state, president Isaac Herzog – who normally stays out of politics – intervened as street strife escalated yesterday begging Netanyahu to “stop the legislative process immediately”.

Demonstrations and calls for the PM to resign have grown after he sacked defence minister Yoav Gallant on Sunday for objecting to the legislative plan.

Herzog spoke out as the nation’s vital military reservists – the backbone of Israel’s armed forces – refused to report for duty triggering serious national security concerns.

ReutersNetanyahu, right, is accused of corruption[/caption]

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