‘We are on the brink of civil war’: Herzog presents ‘people’s plan’ amid doomsday warnings

We are a “crossroads” between “a historical crisis or a defining constitutional moment.”

By World Israel News Staff

President Isaac Herzog on Wednesday night presented his compromise proposal, the so-called “people’s plan,” to counter the government’s plans to reform the judiciary, calling for a “constitutional moment” amid what he said was a “nightmare” with “civil war looming.”

“Those who think that a civil war is a border we won’t reach, have no clue,” he said in a live television address, noting that he had spoken to thousands of Israelis in recent weeks.

“I’ve heard deep-rooted hatred. I’ve heard people from all sides say that if, God forbid, there’ll be blood in the streets, it will no longer shock them,” he said.

“Civil war is a red line. I will not let it happen,” he added.

According to the president, Israel sits at a “crossroads” between “a historical crisis or a defining constitutional moment.”

He called his proposal a “golden path” which ties together the broadest range of views.

“It’s not the president’s plan. It’s the people’s plan,” Herzog said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delayed a scheduled flight to Berlin by five hours in order to attend a discussion on the president’s proposal alongside chairman of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee Simcha Rothman and several other senior ministers.

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Before leaving for Berlin, Netanyahu said that some of the compromise’s “key clauses…only perpetuate the existing situation and do not bring the required balance between the authorities in Israel.”

The draft proposes that Basic Laws would be approved after four readings, and not in three as is currently the case. In the first three votes, a slim majority of 61 MKs will be required, but in the fourth reading, a majority of 80 MKs will be required in most cases.

The proposal also states that the Supreme Court will not be able to review Basic Laws, and will only have the power to strike down ordinary laws. In order to do so, the Supreme Court will be required to do so with an expanded panel of no less than 11 judges, and by a majority of at least 7. Without that, the law returns to review by the Knesset.

The Judicial Appointments Committee would comprise 11 members and not include a majority for the coalition, which would have only five prominent representatives there. The committee will include the Justice Minister, two other ministers chosen by the government, the Supreme Court president, two judges, three members of the Knesset – one from the coalition and two from the opposition from different factions. At least four members will be women and one from Israel’s Arab sectors.

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Herzog opened his speech by referencing an event from earlier in the evening when a terrorist from Lebanon infiltrated Israel and planted an explosive device that caused the serious injury of an Israeli citizen at the Megiddo Junction.

“Our enemies recognize very well the primacy of Israeli unity – and act accordingly,” he said.