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Protests in Israel. President: We are on the brink of a civil war, I propose a compromise solution on the reform of the judiciary

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The government’s judicial reform plan has divided the country, Israeli President Isaac Herzog said. The proposal for a compromise solution, which assumes a mutual balance between the various branches of power, has already been rejected by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Whoever thinks there can’t be a civil war doesn’t know what they’re talking about,” the president warned Israel Isaac Herzog. He stressed that he had recently spoken to “thousands of Israelis” on both sides of the conflict and “in his worst nightmares” he could not have imagined the “shocking rhetoric and true hatred” he had encountered, even when it concerned the small minority of people with whom he had been exposed. had contact.

The current deep crisis is also a unique, historic opportunity to build a “wise, balanced, constitutional system” of government – emphasized Hercog. – My plan is a compromise solution, the goal of which is that neither side can claim victory, because “if one side wins, the state of Israel will lose,” the president noted.

Protests against plans to reform the judiciary

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The plan to reform the judiciary presented by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s cabinet in early January is perceived as an attempt to strengthen the legislative and executive powers at the expense of the judiciary.

It assumes, among other things, increasing government control over the process of selecting judges, as well as the possibility of repealing Supreme Court rulings by a majority of 61 votes in Israel’s 120-seat unicameral parliament – the Knesset.

Protests against the reform of the judicial system in IsraelABIR SULTAN/PAP/EPA

The reform plans have sparked weeks of protests on the streets of Israeli cities, sometimes in the form of violent clashes with the police. The counterproposal presented by Herzog includes, among others: changes in the composition of the body appointing judges to ensure a balance between the various branches of power.

Another point is to strengthen the status of basic laws functioning as the equivalent of the constitution, which, once passed by a qualified majority in the Knesset, would no longer be subject to the Supreme Court’s review. However, this tribunal would retain the right to adjudicate on the constitutionality of the remaining statutes.

Netanyahu rejects Herzog’s proposal

In the Israeli political system, the president plays a mainly ceremonial role. Herzog’s proposal was rejected by Netanyahu shortly after the announcement. This plan “has not been agreed with the government coalition and only perpetuates the current situation, failing to achieve the necessary balance between the different branches of power,” the Israeli prime minister said on Wednesday evening, as quoted by the Times of Israel.

The current Netanyahu government has been in power since late 2022. The coalition supporting him consists of right-wing, extreme nationalist and ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties that won the Knesset elections held in November. Netanyahu was prime minister before, ruling Israel on and off for 15 years.

Main photo source: ABIR SULTAN/PAP/EPA

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