Yesh Atid issues ultimatum, threatens to end judicial reform talks if demands not met

President Herzog warned last month that lawmakers or parties who sabotage the negotiations will be judged harshly by history.

By World Israel News Staff

Ongoing talks aimed at securing a compromise between the right-wing ruling coalition headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Opposition parties regarding reforms to the judicial system have reached a breaking point, according to Hebrew language media.

Netanyahu agreed to freeze the legislation in March 2023 in order to “prevent civil war” after an unprecedented and likely illegal strike by Israel’s largest labor union saw schools, hospitals, municipalities, businesses, and even Ben Gurion Airport shuttered across the Jewish state.

Since then, little progress has been made on the issue. The talks, which have reportedly been stalled for weeks, have become increasingly tense after an ultimatum issued by negotiators on behalf of Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party.

The current sticking point for the opposition party is a proposal to give the coalition a built-in majority when it comes to appointing representatives to the Judicial Selection Committee, which appoints judges throughout Israel.

The coalition is trying to create a change in policy which would see more elected officials serve on the committee, giving politicians greater control over the selection process, though at the moment there are currently only two spots for MKs.

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Yesh Atid is now demanding that one of their lawmakers, MK Karine Elharrar, be appointed to the Judicial Selection Committee, lest they cease participating in the negotiations.

The Knesset must name the two MKs on the committee by June 15th.

President Isaac Herzog, who is mediating the talks, said in a cryptic statement to Hebrew-language media that politicians or parties who do not approach the negotiations in good faith will be judged harshly by history.

In late April, Herzog told Channel 13 News that if the discussions are not successful and no compromise is reached, he “knows who is to blame,” adding that “this historic responsibility needs to be recorded somewhere.”

Echoing his comments in a later interview with Kan News, Herzog said that specific lawmakers were attempting to “pull the rug” on the compromise discussions.

He reiterated his warning that “whoever tries to harm the talks will carry the burden of historic responsibility for the fate of the state and the nation.”