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‘If negotiations fail, some reforms will be passed soon’ says Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee chair

Knesset Member Rothman warns that the current coalition will not survive if judicial system is not fixed

MK Simcha Rotman, head of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee and Pnina Tamano-Shata, head of the status of Women and Gender Equality Committee, lead a meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, May 16, 2023. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israeli Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee chair Simcha Rothman reportedly said on Monday that if judicial reform negotiations do not succeed, the coalition would pass some of the reform laws.

In an interview with N12 First Edition, Rothman blamed the political opposition for rejecting the coalition's compromise proposals.

"The opposition has no real desire to reach an agreement, they intentionally sabotage the negotiations," Rothman said in the interview.

Rothman affirmed that the coalition is ready to reach an agreement, but said it is also ready to pass legislation.

“I believe that part of the reform will pass in this Knesset. If there is agreement, that will be the part that passes,” he told N12. “If not, I think we will pass part of the reform, maybe even the Judicial Selection Committee, which is the part most ready for second and third readings.”

Rothman warned that the coalition would not be willing to drag out the compromise negotiations.

“Despite our strong desire for a compromise reform, we will not be held hostage by the opposition forever,” he said, adding, “We are committed to advancing the reform, which 64 mandates voted for.”

Rothman also responded to Israeli Justice Minister Yariv Levin's statement that, if at least part of the judicial reforms do not pass in the upcoming Knesset session, “what reason do I have to be in the government?”  

“I don’t deal in ultimatums,” said Rothman, “but I do say very clearly, this coalition, without fixing the judicial system, will not survive.”

Rothman said the issue is not about power dynamics but that “it won’t survive because it will not be able to deliver the message that many people chose.”

He reiterated the coalition’s preference for an agreed-upon solution, saying, “If there is an agreement, I think those parts will pass with agreement, and we can take what is not agreed upon to try to reach a negotiated solution later on.”

The Judicial Selection Committee is one of most controversial issues in Israel's proposed reforms.

Yesterday, coalition and opposition groups clashed on social media over Judicial Selection Committee reforms.

Israeli Cabinet Secretary Yossi Fuchs posted an accusation on Twitter saying the opposition was trying to “defeat the coalition.” He said if an agreement was not reached on judicial selection reform, the opposition would not get a seat on the selection committee.

National Unity party leader and Knesset Member Ze’ev Elkin responded by saying his party has “consistently pushed…for dialogue and agreement.”

He said the party would “continue the effort to reach an agreed and balanced reform that will not allow the government to have exclusive control over the judicial system.”

Elkin also called on the coalition not “to break the tradition of the Knesset in committee elections," reminding them that the coalition and opposition always had representation before.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog intervened to calm the situation.

"The easy thing is blowing up the [compromise] talks, but the price will be unbearable,” Herzog said. “It is more challenging and difficult to reach agreements, but this is unequivocally in the best interest of the State of Israel.”

Following Herzog’s statement, Fuchs deleted his accusatory Twitter post and thanked the president “for his tireless efforts to promote dialogue between the coalition and the opposition.”

Fuchs also promised that “the representatives of the coalition will continue to participate in these talks out of a genuine desire to reach agreements.”

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

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