Israel's parliament voted on Monday to overhaul the country's judicial system, which sparked mass protests.
The opposition in parliament promised "fight for the soul of the nation". Tens of thousands of Israelis gathered in the streets and declared their objections. Lawmakers debated late into the night before the proposed changes were approved at first reading.
"A great night and a great day," Netanyahu wrote on Twitter after the preliminary vote.
Holding 642 of the Knesset's 120 seats, it looked like he would get the final vote for revisions to the agenda.
Polls have revealed that most Israelis want reforms to be slowed or shelved.
Earlier in the day, protesters posted online videos of themselves trying to prevent lawmakers from Netanyahu's coalition leaving for the Knesset. Police said eight people were arrested for disorderly conduct and traffic rerouted after demonstrators blocked some roads.
"Demonstrators who talk about democracy are themselves bringing about the end of democracy when they deny elected delegates the fundamental right in a democracy - to vote," Netanyahu said in a statement.
Israel's head of state, President Isaac Herzog, has repeatedly urged the government and opposition to hold compromise talks. But while both sides have voiced willingness, they disagree on terms.