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Opposition leaders reject offer to meet until judicial reform legislation is halted

Opposition leader Yair Lapid speaks to protesters outside the Knesset in Jerusalem, Feb. 13, 2023 (Photo: ALL ISRAEL NEWS)

Israeli Justice Minister Yariv Levin and Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee Chair Simcha Rothman announced on Monday that they were ready and willing to meet with opposition leaders Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz regarding President Isaac Herzog’s proposal to discuss judicial reforms “without preconditions.”

The reference to ‘preconditions’ is understood to be the call to halt legislative proceedings.

Lapid rejected the offer, saying, “As the president stressed yesterday and as explained time and again, the necessary condition to start a national dialogue is an immediate halt of all legislation processes for a designated period of time, during which talks will be held with the president’s mediation.”

“If Minister Levin and MK Rothman agree to this, we would be happy to meet at the President’s Residence tomorrow morning,” Lapid added. He further criticized Levin and Rothman for publishing their offer in the press, instead of contacting him or the president directly.

Gantz also said he was willing to meet with Levin and Rothman “immediately” if they agreed to halt the legislative proceedings.

Levin and Rothman said that Lapid’s call to stop legislation “signals that his only motivation is to stop the legislation and not to hold genuine dialogue.”

Likud party officials complained that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not allowed to publicly address the issue of compromise due to the conflict-of-interest agreement he made previously. They said that a public statement from the Netanyahu was necessary to help the compromise succeed.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also spoke out in favor of Herzog’s compromise offer during an interview with Channel 12 news.

Bennett said agrees that there is need for reform but not at any cost.
“We need to fix it [the justice system], but not take the system from one extreme to another.

The Likud party member also said he understood the concerns of both sides and believes the distance between the two sides is not so wide that it couldn’t be bridged.

“The paradox is that most of the people want reform, do not want regime change, and the truth is that both Levin and also Yair Lapid, everyone by and large, can sign on the same compromise,” he added.

“There are solutions. It really is solvable. That’s why it really hurts that we may, God forbid, wage a civil war over nothing,” Bennett said, proposing a one-week pause in the legislative process to allow the sides to negotiate.

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

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