WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden expressed concern to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about a planned judicial overhaul and appealed for compromise after the overhaul sent Israelis into the streets to protest.
In a call with Netanyahu on Sunday, Biden underscored his belief “that democratic societies are strengthened by genuine checks and balances, and that fundamental changes should be pursued with the broadest possible base of popular support,” the White House said in a statement.
Biden said democratic values must remain a hallmark of the U.S.-Israel relationship and “offered support for efforts underway to forge a compromise on proposed judicial reforms consistent with those core principles,” according to the readout.
Netanyahu’s administration has proposed curbing the power of Israel’s supreme court by handing the final say on the appointment of new judges to lawmakers and giving parliament the power to overrule high court decisions. The plan has set off the biggest civil unrest in Israel for decades.
Biden and Netanyahu discussed tension and violence in the West Bank. The U.S. president cited the need for all sides “to take urgent, collaborative steps to enhance security coordination, condemn all acts of terrorism, and maintain the viability of a two-state solution.”
The White House said Biden welcomed a meeting in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, on Sunday between senior political and security officials from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Jordan and the U.S. that sought to reduce tensions.
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This story was originally published March 19, 2023, 7:36 PM.