President Herzog trashes judicial reform as ‘predatory’ but says reconciliation ‘within reach’

“The set of legislations that is being discussed now needs to be erased in its entirety.”

By World Israel News Staff

The Netanyahu coalition’s proposal to reform the judiciary has sunk Israel into a “nightmare” and should be “erased in its entirety,” President Isaac Herzog said in a blistering speech on Thursday, but added that a consensus could be reached if both sides started putting the country ahead of politics and ego.

The video address marked the first time Herzog expressed an opinion against the reform.

“The set of legislations that is being discussed now needs to be erased in its entirety,” Herzog said. “It is wrong and predatory, and undermines our country’s democratic foundations.”

“Tt must therefore be replaced with another [set of reforms], an agreed upon outline – and immediately,” he said, adding that both sides need to come together to prevent the country from “being pushed off the edge of a cliff.”

“We are at the point of no return,” he said.

“The choices are either disaster or a solution,” Herzog said, addressing Israel’s leaders. “If you continue on the path you have gone down so far, the chaos that reigns will be on your hands. History will judge you.”

Opposition leader Yair Lapid reiterated his call to stop the legislative process immediately, and called for coalition and opposition members to convene at the President’s Residence for “in-depth, serious and agreed-upon negotiations that will lead to the correction and improvement of the judicial system and separation of powers.”

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National Unity chair Benny Gantz said that “the time has come when all leaders must put Israel first.”

But Gantz went on to say that putting Israel first did not mean “surrendering essential principles,” and cited the proposed legislation to restructure the justice system, “a black flag where the appointment of judges is politicized.”

Likud MK Yuli Edelstein suggested a hiatus in advancing any legislation for the next few days in order to verify whether indeed there was a partner for dialogue within the opposition.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to Herzog’s speech from Rome, where he is on an official visit, saying he welcomed Herzog’s proposal and hoped that the two sides could come to a consensus as “brothers and sisters.”

“In these days, in the days of division and rift in the State of Israel, we need to remember that we are one people with a common past and future,” he said to an audience of members of Rome’s Jewish community.