Netanyahu softens judicial overhaul but showdown with top court looms

By Dan Williams

JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday announced a softening of his judicial overhaul plan but an unallayed opposition said it would still challenge key legislation in the Supreme Court, setting the stage for a constitutional showdown.

The package of reforms sought by Netanyahu's religious-nationalist coalition have triggered weeks of unprecedented street demonstrations and stirred worries among Western allies who see a threat to the independence of Israel's justice system.

After discussing the crisis with U.S. President Joe Biden, Netanyahu said he would postpone most of the bills apart from legislation shaking up Israel's system for selecting judges, which he wants ratified before a parliament recess on April 2.

His justice minister, however, said the delay was more technical due to the constrained timeline, adding that he remained committed to carrying out all the proposed changes and warned against high court intervention.