John Kirby
John KirbyREUTERS/Jim Bourg

The White House on Monday welcomed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement that the legislation of the judicial reform will be paused for the time being.

"We welcome this announcement as an opportunity to create additional time and space for compromise," White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, according to AFP. "A compromise is precisely what we have been calling for."

"Democratic societies are strengthened by checks and balances and fundamental changes to a democratic system should be pursued with the broadest possible base of popular support," she added.

Meanwhile, White House national security spokesperson John Kirby told reporters that the United States remains concerned about the situation in Israel and President Joe Biden has shared his concerns about a proposed judicial reform directly with Netanyahu.

"We remain concerned by the recent developments," Kirby said, as quoted by Reuters, adding that Israel had been invited to a US-organized Summit for Democracy later this week.

Kirby added that Biden has been "very forthright" with Netanyahu about his concerns. Asked if Biden was worried that Israel would devolve into civil war, Kirby said he was not.

US concerns about the judicial reform legislation were that it would "fly in the face" of the principle of having checks and balances in government, explained Kirby, adding, "All of that concern comes from ... a place of respect and friendship and admiration for the Israeli people, for Israel as a country and for Israel's democracy."

On Sunday, Washington expressed concerns over the latest developments in Israel and once again called for a compromise over the government’s proposed judicial reform.

“We are deeply concerned by today’s developments out of Israel, which further underscore the urgent need for compromise. As the President recently discussed with Prime Minister Netanyahu, democratic values have always been, and must remain, a hallmark of the US-Israel relationship,” said National Security Council Spokesperson Adrienne Watson in a statement.

“Democratic societies are strengthened by checks and balances, and fundamental changes to a democratic system should be pursued with the broadest possible base of popular support. We continue to strongly urge Israeli leaders to find a compromise as soon as possible,” added Watson.

The Biden administration has been vocal in its criticism of the government’s judicial reform. President Joe Biden recently weighed in on the judicial reforms being promoted in Israel, telling Thomas Friedman of The New York Times, “The genius of American democracy and Israeli democracy is that they are both built on strong institutions, on checks and balances, on an independent judiciary.”

“Building consensus for fundamental changes is really important to ensure that the people buy into them so they can be sustained,” the President added.

Vice President Kamala Harris later commented on the judicial reform as well, telling Politico, “As the president has said, an independent judiciary is foundational for a democracy. And I think that there is no question that we need to make sure that that is supported in terms of what we talk about [and] in terms of our values.”

US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides, meanwhile, recently called on Israeli leaders to “pump the brakes” on the judicial reform.

On the Republican side, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told Axios in an interview that the Israeli government’s judicial reform is an internal Israeli matter and the US should not intervene.