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Germany asks Israel to reconsider plans for judiciary overhaul

Hundreds of people turned out onto the streets to protect against Netanyahu's government and their plans to overhaul the judicial system in Israel

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz yesterday called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to reconsider the government's plan to overhaul the country's legal systemAnadolu news reported.

Speaking at a joint press conference held in Berlin, Scholz said: "As we are a close friend of Israel, and as we share democratic values, we are monitoring this debate very closely. And I must not hide from you the fact that we're greatly concerned about this."

Scholz also called on Netanyahu to study the proposal put forward by Israeli President Isaac Herzog as a means of compromise on reforming the judiciary.

"It is good that President Herzog talked to a number of societal actors in order to counter a further polarisation of Israel, and to maintain social peace," he said.

"President Herzog also submitted concrete proposals to solve this situation, and as friends of Israel, we would hope that these proposals will be considered." Responding to Scholz, Netanyahu said: "I promise you, Israel is a liberal democracy – and it will remain so."

Netanyahu's coalition recently proposed measures that would change the way judges are appointed by giving the Knesset more oversight and the government more power on the committee which selects them.

The proposal has led to large protests, which over the weekend saw 300,000 people take part including officials and military personnel.

Companies have also begun withdrawing funds from Israel out of fear of what the proposals may lead to should there be no separation between the state and the judiciary.

The German official also expressed concern about the escalation of violence in the occupied West Bank, reaffirming his country's adherence to the two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, to which Netanyahu responded saying: "We will cooperate with our neighbours to prevent a deterioration into violence."
Netanyahu arrived in Germany on Wednesday evening. He is due to visit the UK next week.

READ: Civil war is a real threat for Israel, president warns

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