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Lapid claims opposition made deal with Netanyahu, Ben Gvir and Levin nixed it

Lapid calls for an 18-month pause to reform legislation as a condition for resuming negotiations

Opposition head Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant attend a vote on the Reasonableness Standard Bill at the Knesset assembly hall in Jerusalem, July 24, 2023. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Opposition leader Yair Lapid was interviewed by Israel’s Kan 11 news on Saturday evening, where he spoke about talks with the coalition prior to Monday's passing of the Reasonableness Standard Law

Lapid claimed an agreement had been reached to soften the bill in the 11th hour, but that the agreement was shut down by National Security Minister Itamar Ben Givr and Justice Minister Yariv Levin. 

“Ben Gvir and Levin entered the room, banged on the table and Netanyahu capitulated to them,” Lapid said. 

Lapid, who leads the Yesh Atid party, said he is unwilling to continue judicial reform talks unless Netanyahu signs and codifies an 18-month pause to all judicial reform legislation. 

“Not an agreement, but a law, because I don’t believe a word Netanyahu says,” Lapid commented, adding that the agreement reached Netanyahu had included a one-and-a-half-year pause, during which the sides were to resume negotiations at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem. 

Lapid also said that the current crisis caused by the passing of the Reasonableness Standard Law is not a “constitutional crisis” but “an existential crisis.” 

He claimed that the coalition government does not have a mandate to change the structure of the government.

Regarding the Supreme Court’s September hearing on the Reasonableness Standard Law, Lapid “believes that the High Court understands that we need judges in the current situation.” 

The opposition leader also attacked Netanyahu’s recent interview with ABC News, saying the prime minister was causing damage and was just trying to buy himself “two minutes of quiet.” 

Lapid called attention to Netanyahu’s refusal to give a clear answer regarding whether he will follow a Supreme Court ruling against the law. 

“It’s terribly irresponsible of the prime minister to not immediately say: ‘Listen, of course, we will follow a court ruling because we are a country of the rule of law,'” Lapid said. 

Lapid also spoke about the reservists’ threats of refusal to serve their duty because of the Reasonableness Standard Law being passed.

While he opposes refusals, Lapid said he understands the reservists and pilots who have made that decision. 

Israel's Culture and Sports Minister Miki Zohar appeared to contradict Lapid’s claims regarding the agreement. 

“I do think that one thing should be said: The goal of all of us is to promote reform with as broad an agreement as possible. The opposition, as of this moment, has not shown any gesture of goodwill to hold some kind of real dialogue.” 

After the bill passed, Netanyahu also accused the opposition of not negotiating in good faith.

Both sides have accused each other of undermining the negotiations. 

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

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