Video: Protests across the country against the legal revolution (Photo: Reuven Castro, Yotam Ronen, Yossi Yaron)
Talks on the legal revolution will resume Tuesday at the president's residence after several weeks of stagnation without direct meetings between coalition and opposition teams. The President's House is trying to create an outline that will bypass the main bone of contention between the parties, the Judicial Selection Committee, and allow the talks to continue while freezing the legal revolution for a defined period of time – until the Knesset's winter session or until next year.
As part of the outline, there is an attempt to reach agreements between the coalition and the opposition on two relatively marginal issues in Justice Minister Yariv Levin's reform, such as reducing the grounds of reasonableness and advising the government and representing it in legal instances, which will be enacted by agreement in the coming months. The opposition demands, first of all, an explicit commitment by the coalition to continue the freeze on the rest of the reform, and in particular, on the changes in the Judicial Selection Committee, and that any further regime/legal changes be made only by agreement.
An attempt to formulate agreements. Levin (Photo: Reuven Castro)
In the first stage, all eyes are on June 14, the date of elections in the Knesset plenum of representatives of the Judicial Selection Committee. The coalition acceded to the opposition's demand not to postpone the elections again and to hold them on time, but the opposition is also demanding that a representative be elected to the committee, in accordance with non-binding parliamentary practice, and not two representatives of the coalition, as has happened more than once in the past. Yesh Atid made another demand: that Justice Minister Yariv Levin immediately convene the committee and elect missing judges and the next president of the Supreme Court. However, the state camp is also satisfied with holding the elections themselves.
Benny Gantz, chairman of the state camp, announced yesterday that if the coalition violates the practice and elects two representatives on its behalf, the talks will stop immediately. The coalition tends to agree to the election of one MK from the coalition and one MK from the opposition, according to custom, but not to the demand to convene the committee and elect judges. However, the coalition demands that the opposition first agree to understandings on the grounds of reasonableness and legal advice, and threatens to elect two representatives on their behalf if there is no agreement in dialogue soon.
Yisrael Beiteinu Party Chairman MK Avigdor Lieberman said that the Likud's demand to agree in advance on the law appointing attorneys general is blackmail by threats. "You can't agree to it, you can't discuss it," he said. "We must make it as clear and direct as possible – we are not negotiating with extortionists. The election of two coalition representatives is a tool breaker and a breaker of all the rules of the game that have been in place in the Knesset for many years."
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Declared a freeze on the legal revolution. Netanyahu (Photo: Knesset Spokesperson, Noam Moshkovitz)
At the same time, there is an internal split in the opposition regarding its candidates for the committee. Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid is leading MK Karin Elharrar's candidacy, while MK Efrat Reitan (Labor) has also announced that she will run for the seat, while the state camp is debating whether to run another candidate on their behalf.
The talks at the president's residence have been taking place for two months since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a freeze on the legal revolution. In recent weeks, the talks have taken place physically in other locations, and today the teams are expected to reconvene at the president's residence for separate meetings, lunch, followed by joint workshops for both teams.
The coalition is represented in the discussions by Ministers Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer, Minister of Education Yoav Kisch and Cabinet Secretary Yossi Fuchs, jurists Aviad Bakshi and Talia Einhorn, and MKs Kati Shitrit and Hanoch Milwicki. Yesh Atid's team includes MKs Orna Barbivai and Karin Elharrar; Former Director General of the Prime Minister's Office Naama Schultz and Attorney Oded Gazit, and on the staff of the State Camp are former Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar, MK Hili Tropper and Orit Farkas Hacohen, and Attorney Ronen Aviani. The dialogue at the President's Residence is coordinated by former Cabinet Secretary Oved Yehezkel, accompanied by members of the Tachlit Institute for Israeli Thought.
- The Legal Revolution
- Isaac Herzog
- Benjamin Netanyahu
- Yariv Levin