Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decision to delay his government’s reforms of the judiciary were needed to avoid protests “spilling into civil war”, according to commentator on Middle East affairs, Harry Hagopian.
Speaking to Premier Christian radio, Dr Hagopian, who is an international lawyer, described the mass protests involving hundreds of thousands of Israelis as “a very dangerous moment.”
“They are perceived in the Israeli press as liberal Jews”, he added.
“If the right-wing constituency that supports Netanyahu and his government and this reform, also go down on the streets, it's going to be very, very dangerous, because it could lead to a clash”.
Following widespread protests and strikes across Israel, the proposals have now been shelved until next month. But counter-protests by right-wing supporters of the coalition have been planned for Monday.
The government's plans would have given Mr Netanyahu's governing coalition the final say over all judicial appointments.
The coalition also wants laws that would grant the Knesset the authority to overturn Supreme Court decisions and limit judicial review of laws. Opponents say the reforms will undermine the country's democracy.
Dr Hagopian commented:
“Israel doesn't have a constitution. Israel doesn't have two chambers in the parliament. And if the Knesset will now be able to decide who gets appointed as judges on the Supreme Court, if Israel can decide that it is not going to heed or listen to the judgments of the Supreme Court, then we've got a serious problem here.”
Harry Hagopian urged Christians everywhere to pray for peace:
“Pray that what is happening today does not go out of control, because that is the immediate problem facing everybody there. “
“Jerusalem is a mosaic of different monotheistic religions. There are Christians there are Muslims and there are Jews”, he continued.
“What is happening now with these confrontations, the prayer should be ‘please give people wisdom, so that they realise that short term personal interests are not as important as long term national interests’.
“Praying for the peace of Jerusalem is exactly what Jesus would have liked when he wept over Jerusalem.”