Likud’s Regev promises overhaul push will resume after Knesset returns from break

Transportation minister says bills will come up for vote if compromise talks not fruitful, claims police’s ‘preferential’ treatment of protesters proves reform needed

Transportation Minister Miri Regev attends a conference in Tel Aviv on March 22, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Transportation Minister Miri Regev attends a conference in Tel Aviv on March 22, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Transportation Minister Miri Regev pledged Sunday that the coalition’s controversial judicial overhaul legislation would pick up where it left off once the Knesset starts its summer session.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu halted the overhaul process to make room for talks on a compromise hours before the key judicial appointments bill was set to become law last Monday, after months of mass nationwide protests.

“As Prime Minister Netanyahu said, the reform has only been paused and there is a very clear date for the next session. Right after Independence Day we will continue with the legislation,” Regev told a Likud-backed newsletter.

She added that “Netanyahu paused [the legislation] to allow for dialogue, but if there will not be any, we will bring it up for approval anew.”

Opposition and coalition figures are currently holding talks with President Isaac Herzog aimed at reaching a compromise on the government’s highly contentious plans to radically change the judicial system. Some opposition figures have accused the government of being insincere in its attempts to reach a deal through negotiations after Netanyahu called last week for the halt.

Justice Minister Yariv Levin said Wednesday he would resume efforts to pass the hard-right coalition’s judicial overhaul after the Knesset’s Passover recess, fueling claims that the talks were being used as a fig leaf.

Police deploy water cannons to clear anti-judicial overhaul protesters blocking the Ayalon Highway, in Tel Aviv, on April 1, 2023. (Erik Marmor/Flash90)

Regev said in her interview that she believed the judicial appointments bill should have been pushed through, but “in the reality that emerged, Netanyahu made a leadership decision to preserve the unity of the nation.”

Regev also slammed what she claimed was police’s “preferential treatment of anarchists from the left,” referring to anti-overhaul protesters.

Protesters have rallied against the plans for 13 weeks, and have regularly blocked Tel Aviv’s Ayalon Highway. Police have employed water cannons and mounted police to clear demonstrators, and for the first time on Saturday used a sound cannon — a loudspeaker that emits a distressing high-frequency sound.

Also in Tel Aviv, a mounted policeman beat a young woman with what appeared to be a whip on Saturday, footage showed.

“It was necessary to prevent the blocking of roads and their incitement and to strictly deal with those thugs, as with other protesters who break the law. The preferential treatment they received proves the need for legal reform,” Regev said.

In its original form, the judicial overhaul legislation aims to weaken the court’s ability to serve as a check on parliament, as well as give the government control over the appointment of judges.

Critics say the plans will politicize the court, remove key checks on governmental power and cause grievous harm to Israel’s democratic character. Proponents of the measures say they will rein in a judiciary that they argue has overstepped its bounds.

Most Popular
read more: