Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Monday called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to abandon plans to overhaul the country's judiciary.
Herzog tweeted that Israel's security, economy and society were all threatened, and that for the sake of unity he was calling on the government to "stop the legislative process immediately."
He urged lawmakers from both the ruling coalition and opposition parties to put Israeli citizens above all else, saying this is a moment for leadership and responsibility.
Herzog's comments came hours after tens of thousands of protesters gathered in areas across the country to voice opposition to Netanyahu's decision to fire his defense minister.
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The minister, Yoav Galant, had expressed his opposition to the government's judicial reform plans, which include giving the executive control over appointing Supreme Court justices and allowing the government to override court rulings with a simple majority.
Galant warned in a televised statement Saturday that the divide over the issues is "seeping into the military and security agencies," representing a security threat for the country.
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U.S. National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson expressed concern about the situation in a statement Sunday, saying the developments in Israel show the "urgent need for compromise."
"Democratic societies are strengthened by checks and balances, and fundamental changes to a democratic system should be pursued with the broadest possible base of popular support," Watson said. "We continue to strongly urge Israeli leaders to find a compromise as soon as possible. We believe that is the best path forward for Israel and all of its citizens."
Some information for this story came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.