The Israeli president issues a civil war warning as Netanyahu refuses judicial accommodation

March 16, 2023



(Guardian)


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected a proposed compromise from President Isaac Herzog, aimed at resolving a standoff over the planned judicial overhaul by Netanyahu's far-right coalition. Herzog's plan would have seen the selection committee include three ministers, the president of the high court, two judges and two civil servants, and would have given the Knesset more oversight and the government more power on the committee which selects them. The drive by Netanyahu's hard-right government to enact sweeping changes to Israel's courts has sparked domestic uproar and alarm among the country's western allies. Herzog warned that Israel was at a turning point and stressed he had been involved in mediation efforts and speaking with "thousands of people" for weeks. He said Israel was "in the depths of a real crisis" but also "in front of a huge opportunity" and "at a fork in the road"."Most Israelis want a plan that will bring both justice and peace," he said.

The Israeli government's secretary, Yossi Fuchs, confirmed on Twitter that the coalition did not support the president's plan, which is one-sided of the president and has not been agreed upon by any member of the coalition. The Israeli president, whose role is largely ceremonial, has been conducting talks in recent weeks to broker a compromise between members of the coalition and those who oppose the judicial changes, but has not confirmed that he has support for the plan from legislators. The Israeli premier, Benjamin Netanyahu, delayed his flight to Berlin as he was in talks with coalition members over possible amendments to the planned judicial changes, and hundreds of protesters arrived at the airport in an attempt to disrupt the prime minister's departure. The Israeli finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, announced he was shortening a planned trip to Panama in order to return to Israel on Wednesday evening in order to "guide a process of legislation and dialogue".

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