President Joe Biden called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday to express “concern” about his government’s plans to change the country’s judicial system, which has led to widespread protests across Israel, and to encourage compromise.

In a call that was called “honest and constructive” by a senior administration official, the White House said Biden reiterated U.S. concerns about the measure that would bring the judiciary back into the political system of the country. After rejecting a compromise last week from the country’s figurehead president, there was no immediate sign that Netanyahu would back out of the plan.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity about the private call between the two leaders, said that Biden spoke to Netanyahu “as a friend of Israel in the hopes that a middle ground can be found.”

In a statement from the White House, it said that Biden “reiterated his belief that democratic values have always been and must continue to be a cornerstone of the U.S.-Israel relationship, that democratic societies are strengthened by real checks and balances, and that fundamental changes should be pursued with as much public support as possible.”

“The President said he would back efforts to find a middle ground on proposed judicial reforms that are in line with these core principles,” the statement said. The office of the prime minister says that Netanyahu told Biden that Israel will “remain a strong and vibrant democracy.”

Netanyahu said on Sunday that the changes to the law would be done in a responsible way that would protect the basic rights of every Israeli. His government, which is the most right-wing the country has ever had, says the changes are needed to fix an imbalance that has given the courts too much power and kept lawmakers from doing what the people want. Critics say it will destroy Israel’s delicate system of checks and balances and move the country towards authoritarianism. Opponents of the measure have held disruptive protests, and it has even gotten the military involved after more than 700 elite officers from the Air Force, special forces, and Mossad said they would stop volunteering for duty.

After a meeting between Israeli and Palestinian officials on Sunday in Egypt, where they promised to take steps to ease tensions before the holiday season, they had this talk. Officials from the administration were happy with how the summit turned out in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. In a joint statement, both sides said they were still committed to calming down and stopping more violence. The White House says that during the call, Biden “reinforced the need for all sides to take urgent, cooperative steps to improve security coordination, condemn all acts of terrorism, and keep a two-state solution possible.”

Biden calls Israel’s Netanyahu with judicial plan ‘concern’

The Israeli and Palestinian delegations met for the second time in less than a month. Egypt, Jordan, and the United States led the talks, which were meant to end a year of fighting. In the West Bank and east Jerusalem, Israelis have killed more than 200 Palestinians with their guns, and Palestinians have killed more than 40 Israelis and foreigners. It said that some of these are promises to stop acting on their own. Israel promised to stop talking about building new settlements for four months and to stop making plans to make illegal settlement outposts legal for six months.

“The two sides agreed to set up a way to stop violence, incitement, and other things that make things worse,” the communique said. It also said that the parties would talk about progress at a meeting next month in Egypt. The Biden administration is still worried that Palestinians and Israelis will fight every night and do other violent things in Jerusalem like they did during Ramadan two years ago. In 2021, fighting at the Temple Mount helped start an 11-day war between Israel and Hamas, the group that runs the Gaza Strip.