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Former Israeli President Rivlin urges ”clear separation of powers” amid judicial overhaul controversy

Former Israeli President Reuven Rivlin speaks during a Menachem Begin Heritage conference at the Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Jan. 17, 2023. (Photo: Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Israel's former President Reuven Rivlin told Israeli Channel 13 news on Saturday that the Jewish state cannot become a half-democracy. 

“You can’t reach a situation in which you agree to half a democracy, and forgo the other half,” warned Rivlin in his first official interview since leaving the presidency in 2021.

Rivlin avoided criticizing the incumbent President Isaac Herzog but urged him to use “his powers.”

“Every citizen can judge if he’s doing good or not,” added Rivlin. 

The nationwide mass protests against the Netanyahu government’s judicial overhaul plans resumed on Saturday evening for the 20th week, following a brief one-week break during the recent Operation Shield and Arrow military campaign against the Gaza-based terrorist organization, Palestinian Islamic Jihad. 

While Rivlin is a former Likud politician, during his presidency, he emerged as a vocal critic of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policies. 

During his recent interview, Rivlin stressed the need for “a clear separation of powers.” The former president said neither the Knesset nor the Supreme Court should infringe on the other’s authority. 

“We’ll be handicapped in a democracy in which we take so much pride,” warned Rivlin. 

The former president explained why he decided to not protest publicly against Netanyahu’s decision to fire Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in March. 

“Why didn’t I go out onto the streets? That’s what I asked myself,” said Rivlin. 

“I couldn’t go to the streets because I was once the president, and it’s not customary. I didn’t do it out of respect for the presidency, but as a citizen born in the State of Israel,” stated the former president. 

Following wide criticism, Netanyahu eventually decided to reverse his decision to fire Gallant. 

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

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