Below is the full text of a letter that former Israeli Defense Ministry Benny Gantz wrote to members of the current coalition imploring them to halt the judicial reform process and engage in dialogue toward a compromise.
To my friends in the coalition:
The State of Israel finds itself at the edge of the precipice.
For about 80 days and night, the country has been roaring over the changes being made deep in the heart of our democratic system.
I agree on the obvious need to change, improve and correct the system for the benefit of all the citizens of the country.
I agree that the current coalition has full legitimacy to make decisions, but these should be made in a broad and nationwide manner when they touch the heart of the administrative system.
I also believe that we all share the difficult feeling of our nation being torn apart, that is the result of these legislative moves.
Everyone who listened to what the Minister of Defense said last night, heard about the danger to national security resulting from the great rift in the nation and the cracks in democracy – and thus before us we find a “clear and immediate threat”.
This is a sincere call from me to you.
As those elected by the people and believing in the rock of Israel, we all have a moral and Jewish ethical duty to take action.
Out of concern for the State of Israel and out of a sincere belief that our strength is in our unity, on the occasion of Pesach, the holiday of freedom, and the days of the return of the people of Israel as a sovereign nation in its homeland, I am turning to you with a request to immediately stop the judicial reform laws – those that have already been enacted and those that have not yet been enacted – so that we can take advantage of the holy days before us to have a conversation and calm the toxic atmosphere.
I undertake during this period to enter into negotiations in good faith and with a desire to resolve any issues with the goal of reaching agreements that will preserve the principles of democracy, but will also bring about improvements and changes.
All of this with the understanding that, in these discussions, the two sides will be required to move towards each other, and to find creative solutions.
I believe the majority of Israeli citizens, at least 80%, agree on 80% of the issues.
On the basis of the broad agreement that exists in the public, we must act as the elected representatives of the people, to reach an agreed upon reform outline, which will improve the state of Israel, strengthen the separation of authorities, increase governance, and preserve the independence of the judicial system and the gatekeepers.
I implore and ask you to do this for the sake of the security of the State of Israel, its unity and future.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.