Israel’s situation worsens as Benjamin Netanyahu rejects a judicial compromise
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promptly rejected a compromise proposal on Wednesday that was intended to end the impasse over his ambitions to reform the legal system of the country, escalating the situation and drawing international ire.
Isaac Herzog, the nation’s symbolic leader, announced the deal in a speech that was broadcast nationwide.
After more than two months of widespread opposition to Netanyahu’s plan, Herzog, whose ceremonial post is intended to function as both a national unifier and moral compass, announced the proposal. He claimed to have consulted with a wide range of citizens and stated that finding a middle ground is essential to Israel’s future.
Anyone who believes that a true civil war, involving human lives, is a limit we will not cross “has no concept,” according to Herzog. He stated that “the abyss is at touching distance.”
But Netanyahu rejected it without delay. Before leaving for Germany, Netanyahu remarked at Israel’s biggest international airport, “Unfortunately, the coalition representatives did not agree to the things the president outlined. And the proposal’s core ideas merely serve to maintain the status quo and fail to achieve the required balance between the branches. That is the regrettable reality.
Under Netanyahu’s proposal, the legislature would have the power to overrule Supreme Court rulings and grant his parliamentary coalition final approval authority over all judicial appointments.
Netanyahu’s backers contend that the measure is necessary to rein in the unelected judges’ allegedly overwhelming power. Its opponents claim that by consolidating power in the hands of Netanyahu and his ruling coalition, it would dismantle the nation’s system of checks and balances. Additionally, they claim that Netanyahu, who is facing corruption allegations, has an interest conflict.
Both sides received rewards from Herzog’s suggestion. Supreme Court decisions could not be overturned by Parliament. The “Fundamental Laws,” which function as a form of constitution, are substantial pieces of legislation, but courts would not be permitted to invalidate them. Fundamental Laws, however, would need a parliamentary supermajority in order to be approved as opposed to a simple majority.
A group made up of coalition and opposition parliamentarians, judges, and elected officials would be responsible for making judicial selections. No one party would have a veto power over appointments, which would require broad agreement.
This drought is not the president’s. It is the country’s drought, Herzog stated. “There is neither a winning side nor a losing side.”
The opposition Labor party’s leader, Merav Michaeli, praised the idea and claimed that Netanyahu’s rejection of it demonstrates that he “is not for legal reform but for judicial subversion.”