Netanyahu Decides to Advance Judicial Reform Legislation This Week after Opposition Suspends Talks

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JERUSALEM, Israel – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced at Sunday’s Cabinet meeting that the coalition will push forward legislation on judicial reform after opposition leaders suspended talks at the President’s House for 30 days last week.

In his remarks, the prime minister said, “What was proven last week is that the so-called negotiations were actually just a waste of time.”

He suggested that patience in the Likud-led coalition was wearing thin after an opposition representative was elected to serve on the judge selection committee in an anonymous vote last week.

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Netanyahu said, “A large majority of the public today understands that changes need to be made to the judicial system, so we will gather this week and begin the practical steps, we will do them in a measured, responsible manner, in accordance with the mandate we received.”

Opposition leader Yair Lapid responded in a tweet, writting, “If Netanyahu goes ahead with the coup d’état unilaterally as he has stated, he will find that he is the prime minister of less than half of the Israeli people, with less than half of the economy, less than half of the security and less than half of the Knesset.”

Leaders of the groups protesting against judicial reform for the past six months warned they will ratchet up their street activities again, announcing in a statement,  “Netanyahu’s threats against the judicial system will be met with an appropriate Zionist response: Protests and disruptions that will lead to the failure of every attempt to damage the judicial system and Israeli democracy.”

The new threats come after one of the leftist leaders of the anti-judicial reform protests, Brig. Gen. Nehemiah Dagan (Ret.), published a call on Facebook earlier this month – later deleted – for civil war and for destruction of an Israeli think tank which contributed to the government’s judicial reform proposals. Conservative columnist Caroline Glick published some of his post on June 11th.

Matan Peleg, the. C.E.O. of the pro-Zionist group, Im Tirtzu, supported Netanyahu’s decision to move ahead with reforms, saying, “We welcome Prime Minister Netanyahu’s announcement regarding the advancement of the judicial reforms. There is no precedent in the world for the reality in Israel: a minority controlling the majority through blackmail with threats.

Peleg added, “The national camp acted with generosity and statesmanship, allowing the talks to take place, and yet the anarchists and the opposition refuse to move forward.”

In his Cabinet remarks, Netanyahu also mentioned the subject of a possible agreement between the U.S. and Iran, repeating his pledge that Israel will prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. He also said that the deal under consideration by the Biden administration will not stop Tehran’s nuclear program. 

He stated, “Our persistent opposition has contributed to the fact that the US is not returning to this (2015 JCPOA) agreement. We have also told them that the most limited understandings, what are termed ‘mini-agreements’, do not – in our view – serve the goal and we are opposed to them as well.”

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