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Focus returns to judicial reforms after budget passed, Netanyahu still seeks 'broad consensus'

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Justice Yariv Levin during a discussion and a vote on the state budget at the Knesset assembly hall in Jerusalem, May 23, 2023. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that his government would resume negotiations with the opposition parties regarding the judicial overhaul.

The talks between coalition and opposition representatives were put on hold due to the national budget vote. However, after the Israeli Knesset passed the 2023-2024 state budget, the premier told the media that the focus would shift back to the judicial reforms issue. 

The prime minister stressed that he favored a broad consensus on the controversial legal reforms that have divided the country during the past few months. 

“We will of course continue with our efforts to arrive at a broad consensus agreement, to the extent possible, on the issue of judicial reform,” said Netanyahu. 

“I believe with goodwill and real will it’s possible to come to agreements that will serve all citizens of Israel,” added the prime minister. 

However, Netanyahu’s promises are met with considerable skepticism from the opposition parties.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid said he has “zero faith” in Netanyahu and urged Israeli President Isaac Herzog, who is mediating the talks at the President’s Residence, to ask for a clarification from the prime minister. 

Former Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who leads the National Unity opposition party, warned Netanyahu against implementing unilateral judicial reforms without a national consensus. 

"I understand that Netanyahu is once again drunk on power, after passing a budget that will blow up in all of our faces. I remind Netanyahu that stupidity is to repeat the same actions and expect different outcomes. If the coup d’état returns to the table, we will rock the country and stop it," said Gantz. 

Proponents of the judicial reform argue that it will strengthen Israeli democracy while critics fear it will undermine it by weakening an independent judiciary. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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