Asked about concerns that Israel’s judicial overhaul could harm Israel’s global credit rating, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promises to act responsibly, but hints at limits he will tolerate to protests against his government.
Netanyahu denies that the moves against Israel’s courts undermine Israeli democracy.
“We are not weakening the judicial system, we are strengthening all our systems, democracy and the rule of law that are all dependant on the correct balance between institutions,” Netanyahu says at a press conference presenting his government’s economic plans.
“This balance that we find in all countries around the world has been somewhat broken, as you know, in Israel, and we have to return it in a responsible way and that’s what we will do,” he says.
Netanyahu refers to controversies in the last days where members of his government called to arrest opposition leaders and protesters who block roads.
“If I’m already talking about this I would like to appeal for calm in the public discourse. The state will not be destroyed, democracy will not be obliterated,” he says.
“The essence of democracy is in arguments, not with bullets and shells but at the ballot box and in votes in the Knesset, or parliament,” he says. “We can disagree, in democracy we don’t agree, but in a democracy you reach a resolution even if you don’t agree, but you also have to delineate the limits to the conversation.”
“In a democracy, you don’t arrest the heads of the opposition, and in a democracy, the opposition does not call the heads of government Nazis, and the elected government the Third Reich — you need to calm down.”
More than anything there is no violence, there is no license for violence, and there is no license to block roads or other things that invasively harm the citizens,” he says.