Israel's opposition leader Yair Lapid warned on Sunday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government could not be trusted with a proposed compromise to the ongoing judicial overhaul crisis.
“The purpose [of the proposed compromise] is not to reach a consensus but to raise difficulties for the justices as they discuss the petitions,” Lapid told an audience during a Tel Aviv conference on social justice.
“Already last month, I told the president’s team and my colleagues in the opposition: ‘I’m warning you ahead of time, a few days before the hearings and [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s trip to the US, all of a sudden a compromise will be offered that looks too good to be true,” Lapid said.
However, he stressed the need to urgently mend the fractures in Israeli society resulting from nine months of massive nationwide protests against the Netanyahu government and the judicial reform plan.
“This past week’s U-turn proved that it would have been better had we listened to my warning. Regardless, we must make every effort to prevent the strife amongst the nation. Contrary to the prime minister and his cabinet, we have a national responsibility toward the fate of this country,” stated Lapid.
Netanyahu has tried to secure a top-level meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden for months. However, the Biden administration has vocally opposed the Netanyahu government’s judicial overhaul and the president has not been in a hurry to meet the Israeli premier.
In July, a Wall Street Journal editorial accused Biden of treating Netanyahu worse than the openly anti-American Iranian regime.
It is currently unclear whether Netanyahu will meet Biden during his trip to the United States this month.
Meanwhile, former Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who heads the National Unity opposition party, signaled that he would be prepared to accept a judicial reform compromise that “preserves democracy.”
“I’m not interested in Netanyahu’s motivations,” Gantz told an audience at the Reichman University conference, but emphasized the need to preserve Israel’s democracy.
"If there is a solution placed on the table that will preserve democracy, I will be there,” said Gantz.
Less than a week ago, Gantz said he would refuse to join Netanyahu's government, even for a peace deal with Saudi Arabia.
In a July poll, the former IDF chief was shown to be rising in popularity in Israel's national polls.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.