Judicial reform compromise ‘closer than ever,’ says Herzog

“There are agreements behind the scenes on most things,” says the Israeli president, referring to likelihood of compromise on judicial reform.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

President Isaac Herzog said on Monday that he was optimistic about the possibility that the current Israeli government headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the opposition parties could agree to a compromise on the contentious issue of judicial reform.

“We are closer than ever to the possibility of an agreed outline,” Herzog said during an emergency meeting with some 100 local politicians, which he hosted at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.

“There are agreements behind the scenes on most things,” he added. “Now it depends on our national leadership, the coalition and opposition, who will manage to rise to this great moment, who will understand the situation and the terrible alternative behind the door, and who will put the state and its citizens above everything.”

Notably, Opposition leader and Yesh Atid chair Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz, who is head of the National Unity party, have repeatedly said they will refuse to engage in negotiations until the coalition agrees to freeze all legislation for at least two months.

In a tweet directed at the coalition, Lapid demanded that they “anounce an immediate halt to the legislation,” adding that in exchange, “we will sit to discuss the outline that [Herzog] is preparing.”

Meeting without demanding preconditions from the coalition, Gantz said last week, would be akin to negotiating “with a gun to our heads.”

Justice Minister Yariv Levin and Constitution, Law and Justice Committee chairman Simcha Rothman have said they are willing to discuss potential changes to the legislation with the opposition. But their political rivals have steadfastly refused to enter formal discussion on judicial reform matters without a promise that the pair would stop all pending legislation while talks take place.

On Thursday, the second nationwide “Day of Disruption” is scheduled to take place. Last week, demonstrators blocked major highways and thoroughfares, surrounded the homes of MKs, and rallied outside of the Knesset to express their opposition to the potential reforms.

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