Opposition and Coalition leaders reject reported judicial reform compromise

The prime minister reportedly wants to have some kind of agreement with the Opposition before meeting President Biden later this month.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are rejecting reported compromises being floated during the renewed negotiations on judicial reform that are currently taking place indirectly as Opposition and Coalition members talk to President Isaac Herzog but not to each other.

Justice Minister Yariv Levin told Radio Kol Hai Tuesday that the current proposal was a complete non-starter.

“It’s impossible to agree to the new suggested compromise,” he said. “It doesn’t change the basic thing that is necessary to change in the Judicial Selection Committee.”

The reported elements of a deal include accepting the Opposition’s demand that the current composition of the Committee will not change, with seven out of nine committee members needed to approve judicial appointments, including to the High Court.

Levin also rejected reports that said that Netanyahu had agreed to the reported elements of the deal because he wanted to show U.S. President Joe Biden when they meet later this month that he was keeping his promise to only make reforms based on a wide consensus.

“There is no change on the prime minister’s part regarding the reform, despite all the reports,” he said. “I have Netanyahu’s full backing.”

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National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir meanwhile came out strongly against the presented outline, saying that “the six members of Otzma Yehudit will vote against surrender if and when it comes up for a vote.”

The other coalition member that fully backs reform, the Religious Zionist Party, put out a statement saying it backs compromise but “the surrender of the majority to the extreme minority which is prepared to burn down the club because it lost the election — is not on the agenda.”

Voices from small parties on the other side of the political map were no less determined in their rejectionism.

Labor Party head Merav Michaeli said that her faction would never agree to a deal, as the government should be toppled, not saved. Chairman of the Yisrael Beytenu party Avigdor Liberman said the talks were just a show, as “Netanyahu is once again deceiving everybody and attempting to buy time and legitimacy.”

Leaders of the anti-reform protests that have filled Israel’s streets week after week put out a harsh joint statement, saying, “The talks will only achieve one thing: saving Netanyahu, legitimizing his destructive government, and promoting his vision for a dictatorship under the cover of ‘agreements.’ The notion of agreeing on one or two laws while leaving aside the others will end with Israel becoming a Middle East version of Hungary, Turkey and Poland.”

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The two large Opposition parties, Yesh Atid and National Unity, have not publicly commented on the proposals they are sharing with the president. Both Yesh Atid’s Ram Ben-Barak and the Likud itself, have only gone so far as to tell the press that “no compromise” has been reached so far.

Speaking to representatives of the Jewish community in Austria while on his state visit to the country, President Herzog called for the sides to finally come together for the sake of the country.

“It is necessary to come together for broad understandings, it is possible,” he said. “This is… about reality, and reality requires making a huge effort to reach agreements,” Herzog said, calling for the politicians to show “leadership” and “responsibility” in order to reach a broad consensus.