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Israeli Prez urges immediate dialogue between PM, oppn over contentious judicial overhaul

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Jerusalem: Israeli President Isaac Herzog has urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leaders to immediately engage in a dialogue, a day after the government suspended a contentious plan to overhaul the judiciary.

Herzog’s office said in a statement on Tuesday that the first meeting with teams of representatives from the ruling coalition, Yair Lapid’s centrist party of Yesh Atid and Benny Gantz’s National Unity party will meet at the president’s residence in Jerusalem later in the day, reports Xinhua news agency.

Herzog said he would work “in broad cooperation for the benefit of forging as broad agreements as possible, with the aim of rescuing Israel from the deep crisis.” He urged both coalition and opposition “to show responsibility” and agree to compromise.

On Monday night, following a day of unprecedented strikes and protests that led to the shutdown of the airport and chaotic situations in some parts of the country, Netanyahu announced in a live televised address that he was suspending the legislation of the controversial plan until April 30.

Netanyahu said he has decided to suspend the legislation in order to “allow time to try and reach a broad agreement” on the reforms.

“In any case,” the legislation blitz will resume after the Knesset, or Parliament, reconvene after the Passover holiday break on April 30, he said.

The overhaul, proposed by the ruling coalition and aimed at curbing judicial power, has divided the country for weeks, with tens of thousands taking to the streets in demonstrations and blocking major highways across Israel and rallying outside the Knesset in Jerusalem.

On Monday, factories, banks, shopping malls and local authorities participated in the general strike and shut down services.

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( With inputs from www.siasat.com )

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