Lapid demands 60-day freeze on judicial reform as precondition to negotiations

Opposition Leader responds to cancellation of planned Knesset votes on judicial reform by laying down conditions for beginning talks on possible compromise.

By World Israel News Staff

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid announced Wednesday that his party will not enter into talks with the coalition on a possible compromise for the judicial reform plan, unless existing legislation under consideration be frozen for at least two months.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Coalition announced that it has cancelled two planned Knesset votes for bills included in the government’s judicial reform package.

One bill, dubbed the “Aryeh Deri Law 2,” would limit the Supreme Court’s ability to strike down ministerial appointments, after Shas chairman and former Interior Minister Aryeh Deri’s appointment was disqualified last month.

The second bill, known as the Override Clause, would amend the country’s Basic Laws, allowing the Knesset to veto rulings by the Supreme Court that overturn laws passed by the legislature.

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid claimed victory Wednesday, saying: “Every person who left their home to demonstrate with a flag and a sign can tell themselves that we fought together and we succeeded in delaying this bill which would crush democracy, which will not be brought for a vote today in the Knesset plenum.”

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Later on Wednesday, in a Knesset address, Lapid said the cancelation of Wednesday’s votes was only the “first step” towards beginning talks for a compromise.

Lapid said that his party will not back talks with the coalition unless it commits to freezing all legislation included in the judicial reform package for at least 60 days.

“The starting point is an announcement that the legislation will be frozen for 60 days before [it is brought] for its first vote, so that the President will be able to lead the process,” he said.

“Sixty days is like the blink of an eye in the life of a democracy. We have been waiting for 74 years. Nothing will happen if it takes a few more weeks, thanks to which we will save the people of Israel from a terrible crisis.”

Furthermore, Lapid demanded that the talks between the opposition and coalition be brokered by an external committee.

“During this 60-day period, the president will set up a professional team which he will lead to conduct a national hearing in the presidential residence,” he said.