Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition plunged into chaos Monday, after mass overnight protests over the sacking of his defense chief piled pressure on the government to halt its bitterly contested plans to overhaul the judiciary.

Netanyahu had been expected to make a televised statement Monday morning announcing the plans had been suspended. He says they are needed to restore balance to the system of government, but critics see them as a threat to democracy.

Amid reports his nationalist-religious coalition risked breaking apart, the statement was postponed while Netanyahu met heads of the parties.