Gantz: Netanyahu failing to ‘rise to the occasion,’ must stop overhaul bid

National Unity leader Benny Gantz, a key member of the opposition, says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is failing to “rise to the occasion” and stop the coalition’s push to drastically overhaul the judiciary.

Gantz says it is clear from Netanyahu’s speech tonight, in which he vowed to press ahead with legislation that will bring judicial appointments under political control, that an immediate halt to the process “is the right thing for the State of Israel.”

“But the barrier of silence [in the Likud] began to crack today,” says Gantz, who has been holding talks with coalition MKs in Likud and ultra-Orthodox parties, including with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, in a bid to prevent irreversible damage to democracy and civil war, officials in his party said.

Gallant was likely set to call for the coalition to stop the judicial overhaul push, in a televised speech tonight, an address he called off after being summoned to Netanyahu’s office in Jerusalem.

“Many Knesset members in the coalition, led by the defense minister, see the rush of legislation we are experiencing as a serious assault on democracy and Israeli society, as well as a historical mistake,” says Gantz.

“Tonight, it is clear beyond any doubt that the [judicial] coup will seriously damage Israeli democracy and society. It will be a direct hit on Israel’s security and a lack of national responsibility of the first order,” he goes on.

Netanyahu must stop the legislative process, he says, and coalition members should shun the expected vote next week to politicize judicial appointments.

Gantz also adds that should the coalition stop its bid to revamp the judiciary, the opposition will gladly engage in dialogue.

“Stop, and we will talk. There are no losers in holding a dialogue, there is only one winner: the State of Israel,” he says.

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