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Upcoming Israeli budget vote delays ongoing judicial overhaul negotiations between government and opposition

Israeli President Isaac Herzog hosts delegations from Likud, Yesh Atid and National Unity for judicial negotiations at his residence in Jerusalem, Mar. 28, 2023. (Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO)

The office of Israeli President Isaac Herzog revealed on Sunday that direct judicial overhaul negotiations between government and opposition representatives would be postponed this week.

Israeli lawmakers on both sides reportedly asked the president to postpone the ongoing negotiations to focus on the upcoming budget vote in the Knesset.

In the meantime, the president’s staff will hold separate meetings regarding the judicial reform with representatives of the government and the opposition. Israel's 2023-2024 state budget must be passed by May 29 or the parliament will automatically be dispersed, leading to a new round of elections. 

Large anti-judicial overhaul protests were held on Saturday evening in Tel Aviv and in other cities, marking the 20th week of protests against the Netanyahu government’s judicial policies. The attendance at anti-government demonstrations was briefly reduced during the recent Israeli Operation Shield and Arrow anti-terror operations in the Gaza Strip. 

Former Israeli Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman, once a close Netanyahu ally, has in recent years emerged as a vocal critic of the incumbent prime minister. Liberman, who opposes the Netanyahu government’s judicial overhaul plans, also slammed the prime minister for increasing funding to ultra-Orthodox schools without requiring they teach core topics such as math, science and English. 

“I agreed to give a lot of money in exchange for core studies,” said Liberman. “What Netanyahu did, and for which he deserves to suffer in hell every day, he took those people and said: 'I’ll give you the same funds without studying core studies. I want to leave you in poverty, without education, so that you will suffer.'”

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

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