Diplomats joined the general strike over PM Netanyahu's judicial reform proposal
Multiple Israeli embassies and consulates were closed on Monday, after diplomats and staff joined the general strike in protest over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's judiciary reform proposal.
"The Embassy of Israel will be closed today until further notice and no consular services will be provided," Elad Strohmayer, spokesman for the embassy in Washington, tweeted on Monday morning. A tweet in Hebrew on the embassy's account confirmed his announcement.
Strohmayer explained that the Histadrut, Israel's largest labor union, "instructed all government employees to go on strike, including Israel's diplomatic missions around the world."
Israel's embassy in France also joined the strike. The embassy in the UK, however, made no announcements on its account, while Ambassador Tzipi Hotovely was tweeting in praise of security and intelligence cooperation with London.
The general strike has already shut down the Ben Gurion international airport in Tel Aviv and much of Israel's healthcare system. The Histadrut said the unusual measure was intended to "stop the madness" of the proposed judiciary reform.
Netanyahu's plan to curb the powers of the Supreme Court has been met with widespread indignation. Protests against the measure drew over 600,000 people to the streets of Tel Aviv on Saturday. Asaf Zamir, Israel's consul general in New York, resigned in protest. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant made a public statement against the reform on Sunday, and was promptly dismissed.
"For the sake of the unity of the people of Israel, for the sake of responsibility, I am calling on you to stop legislation immediately," President Isaac Herzog urged the government on Sunday night.
Judiciary reform is a key demand of one of Netanyahu's coalition partners, however. If he withdraws the proposal, the government might lose the Knesset majority, forcing a sixth parliamentary election in five years.