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Former US Ambassador Friedman criticizes timing of Israel's vote on contentious bill

Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel (Photo: Screenshot)

Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman on Sunday condemned the timing of the Israeli Knesset vote on the contentious Reasonableness Standard Bill on Sunday, noting that the vote is taking place on the eve of Tisha B’Av, the day to commemorate the destruction of the Second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem some 2,000 years ago.

"Given the striking parallels between Israel’s current internal rift and the infighting that caused the destruction of the Second Temple 2,000 years ago, why would the Israeli government proceed with its Judicial Reform bill on the eve of Tisha B’Av? Very bad timing," stated Friedman.

Friedman, who is a practicing Jew, is believed to have close ties with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as those within the Jewish state's conservative circles. As Israel has recently been celebrating its 75th anniversary, historical-minded pundits have remarked that two previous Jewish kingdoms collapsed within eight decades due to internal divisions. 

In March, former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned that the current sharp internal divisions in Israeli society placed the Jewish state in even greater danger than the traumatic Yom Kippur War in 1973.

“Israel is in greater danger than at any time since the Yom Kippur War — security danger, diplomatic danger, economic danger, in danger of falling apart,” Bennett warned at the time.

In a phone conversation on Sunday, U.S. President Joe Biden reportedly urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to halt the controversial judicial overhaul and focus on finding a national consensus.

"It doesn't make sense for Israeli leaders to rush this — the focus should be on pulling people together and finding consensus," Biden argued.

"From the perspective of Israel’s friends in the United States, it looks like the current judicial reform proposal is becoming more divisive, not less," the American president added.

Israeli police used water cannons on Monday to disperse masses of protesters rallying outside the Knesset in Jerusalem. Authorities arrested at least six individuals who blocked the roads and ignored instructions from police.

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

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