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Biden calls on Netanyahu not to advance vote on Israel's judicial reform bill 

President Biden called on Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to not advance a vote on the country’s controversial judicial reform bill, according to a statement by the president given to Axios.

“Given the range of threats and challenges confronting Israel right now, it doesn’t make sense for Israeli leaders to rush this — the focus should be on pulling people together and finding consensus,” Biden said.

Biden added that “it looks like the current judicial reform proposal is becoming more divisive, not less,” according to the outlet. The statement comes on the heels of Biden inviting Netanyahu, who has been in the role for seven months, to Washington, D.C. after the two leaders talked on the phone together last week.

The delay in offering Netanyahu an invitation from the White House was viewed as a major snub from Biden, who has criticized far-right members of the prime minister’s governing coalition as “extreme.”

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that Biden reiterated his concerns about Israel’s judicial reform bill to Netanyahu while on the phone last week. He said Biden pushed for “the need for the broadest possible consensus and that shared democratic values have always been and must remain a hallmark of the U.S.-Israel relationship,” when discussing judicial reforms.

Israelis took part in massive protests in the days ahead of the Knesset voting on the judicial reform bill, which is expected this week.

The Netanyahu-backed judicial reform bill sparked controversy and protests across the country as critics labeled the move as a threat to democratic values. The reforms would allow the government to overrule Supreme Court decisions and give the executive branch more power to appoint justices.

The United States has pushed back on these reforms in the past, with lawmakers and the Biden administration expressing concerns over the proposals. Biden said earlier this year that he hopes Netanyahu “walks away” from the pursued reforms.

“Like many strong supporters of Israel, I’m very concerned, and I’m concerned that they get this straight. They cannot continue down this road,” Biden told reporters in March.

The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment.

Source: The Hill

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