National Unity will support the judicial reform compromise outline discussed in the last week no matter Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s motivation for pushing for it, party leader Benny Gantz said on Monday.
“In the last few days, the president advanced an outline in which I saw a base for widespread agreements that would protect the democracy and the value of a politicization of the judiciary system and would give the other side an opportunity to influence to some degree because at the end of the day, the victory of one side or the surrender of the other will cost us dearly,” he said. “I’m not interested in Netanyahu’s motivation. If there is a solution on the table that will protect democracy, I will be there.”
The president’s compromise outline, which was leaked last week, sees the government legislating a less extreme reasonableness clause amendment as well as a freeze on judicial reform legislation for 18 months.
Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir today criticized the resumption of talks at the President’s Residence and made it clear that Otzma Yehudit would not support the move.
“I am in favor of negotiations, but against surrender,” clarified Minister Ben-Gvir and explained that “the reform is important for the State of Israel, it will balance the three authorities – the legislative, executive and judicial branches. Surrender in the President’s House means humiliating more than half of the people.”
As quoted in the Times of Israel, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich says his Religious Zionism party will agree to some “concessions” to reach judicial compromises but will not budge on its demand to increase right-wing representation the nation’s top court. “I told the prime minister that we are ready for dialogue and agreements, including concessions, in order to bring about unity among the people, in order to keep the IDF united and strong, and Israeli society intact,” Smotrich says in a statement in Jerusalem. “But at the same time, we strongly oppose dictates and ultimatums from those who lost the elections, did not win the trust of the people, and are trying, by threats of refusal [to perform military service] and harm to state security, to dictate their position to us by force. Under no circumstances will we agree to give up on diversity in the selection of judges in order to represent all the communities in the State of Israel, and we will not agree to a situation in which the opposition, which lost the elections, can trample, and run over the right-wing in the Judicial Selection Committee,” the Religious Zionism party head says.
As long as Prime Minister Netanyahu compromises in good faith, Gantz will be there to move judicial reform forward. (What is this about waiting 18 months to put reforms into effect?) Major hearings were schedules for today. If they reach a compromise that all parties will accept it will be a great step. As Ben Gurion said, “Anyone who does not believe in miracles is not a realist.”