Report: Opposition resumes judicial reform negotiations with Coalition

Netanyahu reportedly has agreed to freeze judicial overhaul legislation for 18 months and to soften the already-passed ‘Deri Law’.

By David Rosenberg, World Israel News

Negotiations between the Coalition and the Opposition towards a compromise on the judicial overhaul have resumed at the president’s residence, Channel 12 reported Monday evening.

The talks, hosted by President Isaac Herzog, were frozen during the Knesset’s summer recess, after the Coalition passed the Deri Law, barring courts from overturning government decisions and appointments on the basis of the reasonableness standard.

The law is the only portion of the Coalition’s larger judicial overhaul plan that has thus far been passed by the Knesset.

According to Monday’s report, which cited unnamed sources in the president’s residence, talks between Coalition and Opposition members were resumed with the understanding that the government will not attempt to pass any additional bills from its judicial reform package over the next 18 months – a condition Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is said to have already agreed to.

Furthermore, Netanyahu has also agreed to soften the Deri Law, with a new bill to be passed overriding the legislation passed in July.

In addition, the prime minister is said to have accepted the Opposition’s demand that the Judicial Selection Committee must reach a seven-member majority out of its nine total members in order to approve judicial appointments – effectively negating Justice Minister Yariv Levin’s (Likud) bid to enable the government to appoint judges without support from the Opposition, the Israeli Bar Association, or the Supreme Court justices included on the committee.

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Despite these reported concessions, the sources cited by Channel 12 said it is unclear whether the two sides will be able to reach a compromise agreement.

Officials in the president’s office were quoted as pressuring Opposition members to reach a deal with the government.

“If you agree, the crisis will end.”

The president’s office confirmed that negotiations have been renewed, but offered few details.

“The president has in recent weeks led a special effort to prevent a constitutional crisis and bring about a solution that maintains democracy and unity in Israel,” Herzog’s office said.

“It should be stressed that no agreements have been reached.”