Lapid sends best wishes for Netanyahu’s recovery – with a sting in the tail

The prime minister should not only get well quickly, but “bring health to Israeli society as well,” the Opposition leader said, referring to the judicial reform controversy.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Israel’s Opposition leader conveyed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu his best wishes for a speedy recovery from the operation he underwent Sunday morning, but not without putting a sting in the tail.

“Sending wishes of good health to the prime minister this morning,” Yair Lapid tweeted, after news broke that Netanyahu was going to have a pacemaker installed early in the morning following a warning beep from the heart monitor he has been wearing since his health scare last week.

Lapid then added, “These are difficult days for the State of Israel, but it is not too late to bring health to Israeli society as well.”

It was an obvious reference to the legislation currently being debated in the Knesset on amending the reasonableness clause so that the Supreme Court cannot overturn government decisions and appointments based on justices’ subjective opinion of what is “reasonable.”

Almost two days of Opposition speeches and voting on over 27,000 reservations to the bill commenced Sunday morning, with the second and third readings to pass it into law scheduled for Monday evening.

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Judicial reform critics have said that the clause is necessary because Israel has no real system of check and balances on the executive arm of government. There have been massive public demonstrations claiming that any part of the judicial reform the government has proposed is a direct danger to Israel’s democracy.

Reform proponents say that they are trying to stop the most interventionist judiciary in the world, which arrogated its powers to itself over 20 years ago. Regarding Sunday’s issue, they maintain that there are other, more objective yardsticks that have not been touched which can stop an appointment, and such judiciary interference is anti-democratic as justices are not answerable to the people like the coalition members are.

Even so, Netanyahu has been negotiating about the bill’s contents to reach a broader consensus.

While still “hoping that an agreement will be reached,” the prime minister said upon entry to the hospital, if no breakthrough is made at the last minute while the bill is being debated, the bill will go through as is, and he will be in the plenum when it happens.

“The doctors say that I will be released from the hospital tomorrow by the afternoon and I’ll be able to arrive at the Knesset for the vote,” he said.

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Former prime minister Ehud Barak, who has labeled Netanyahu a “dictator” over the issue of judicial reforms and called for mass civil disobedience in protest, also sent the prime minister wishes for a speedy recovery, saying moderately, “Disputes exist. But first of all, only health.”