Netanyahu repeats call for Opposition to negotiate, ‘without ego,’ on judicial reform, to no avail

Yair Lapid rebuffed the prime minister, demanding again that all legislative work be halted first.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeated his call for serious negotiations on judicial reform when speaking in the Knesset Monday, only to be rebuffed by Opposition leader Yair Lapid.

“There is only one way to lower the level of flames between us, and that way is one: to start talking,” Netanyahu said.

In order to do so, he continued, “you have to go into one room together and talk, without quibbling over etiquette and without ego – you go in together and talk. Because the country comes first. We go in together without prefaces and without preconditions.”

“Seven precious weeks” have already been “wasted,” he said, urging the plenum to listen to the words of Esti Yaniv, the mother of Hillel Menachem (22) and Yagel Yaakov (19) who were murdered in a shooting attack in Huwara on Sunday.

“At the height of her grief and with an incomparable nobility of spirit” at the funeral, the prime minister continued, she said, “We love the country, we love the army and we want unity.”

“I know and you know that this is a real call of many in the nation,” he said, “and I am convinced that with goodwill – we can reach agreements.”

To show that the two sides were not as far apart as indicated by some MKs who spoke ahead of him, Netanyahu quoted from speeches made by current foes, including former Likud ministers Gideon Saar and Ze’ev Elkin, as well as Lapid.

In 2016, he noted for example, Lapid said, “It’s not right in my opinion that everything is judiciable…that the Supreme Court changes the order of the world by using the ‘reasonable person’ test. It’s not right in my opinion that one authority should put itself above the others.”

This proves, Netanyahu said, “that you support important principles of the reform,” but instead of negotiating, “you leaders of the Opposition are supporting the crossing of every red line: chasing away investors, refusing [military] orders, calling for civil unrest, encouraging blood in the streets.”

The prime minister also blasted the “heated slogans” that Opposition members have been using at mass rallies across the country, stating, “There will be no dictatorship here, no ‘halakhic [Orthodox Jewish law] state,’ no end of democracy, no bulldozing the court, no harm to the LGBT [community], and none of all that other nonsense that I and my colleagues will not countenance.”

As Opposition head, Lapid spoke immediately afterwards and fiercely attacked every aspect of the government, saying it had “lost control,” particularly on the security and economic fronts. And yet, he charged, “you are only interested in one thing: to continue the campaign of destruction of Israeli democracy.”

He rejected Netanyahu’s call for consultations without preconditions. “Don’t insult our intelligence, you don’t want negotiations, you want to show the Americans that we are still a functioning democracy. Want to talk? Stop the legislation, this is what the president told you and this is what is required to prevent a rift in the nation,” he said.

The plenum was called after the Opposition summoned the prime minister as required by law with a letter signed by 40 MKs.

The post Netanyahu repeats call for Opposition to negotiate, ‘without ego,’ on judicial reform, to no avail appeared first on World Israel News.

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