Netanyahu says opposition not interested in talks after Gantz, Lapid freeze them

The Israeli leader promise to “act responsibly for our country.”

By World Israel News Staff

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu charged Yesh Atid chief Yair Lapid and National Unity head Benny Gantz of wanting to sabotage the judicial reform negotiations, following the opposition members’ decision to freeze the talks after their candidate was voted on the Judicial Selection Committee in a dramatic showdown earlier in the day.

“Today it finally became clear that Gantz and Lapid looked for any way to blow up the talks,” Netanyahu said in a video statement released after the vote.

The opposition has further “rejected every proposal — even the most limited” that the coalition has proposed at the talks at the President’s Residence, Netanyahu claimed.

“Gantz and Lapid don’t want real negotiations,” he said. “I promise you that unlike them, we’ll act responsibly for our country.”

In a shock vote hours earlier, the Knesset voted to approve opposition Yesh Atid MK Karine Elharrar to the Judicial Selections Committee, with 58 votes in favour and 56 votes against.

An additional vote will be held within 30 days in order to select the Knesset’s second candidate.

Four coalition members voted for Elharrar in the secret ballot, pushing Tali Gottlieb, a member of Netanyahu’s own Likud Party, out the race. Gottlieb was backed by 15 MKs, and opposed by 59.

Elharrar’s win marks a triumph for the opposition, which had hinged the continuation of judicial overhaul talks on the selection of its candidate to the committee.

The nine-member panel is responsible for appointing judges at all levels of Israel’s civil court system.

Lapid and Gantz responded to Elharrar’s win by hailing the “good news” but saying that the talks would be suspended until the panel is formed.

“Once Netanyahu was a fraud and strong. Today he’s a fraud and weak,” Lapid said.

“Without a committee, there are no talks,” he added.

Gantz argued that there was “no point” carrying on the talks.

“I am concerned, because Netanyahu collapsed,” Gantz said. “His conduct raises a large question over his judgment in fateful questions and raises a large question over his ability to control the coalition and respect agreements. In the current state of affairs, where there is no committee functioning as required, there is no point in holding talks at the President’s Residence,” Gantz said.