Gantz says won’t negotiate if judicial selection bill passes: Like cocking a gun

Jeremy Sharon is The Times of Israel’s legal affairs and settlements reporter

National Unity leader Benny Gantz speaks during a faction meeting at the Knesset on February 20, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
National Unity leader Benny Gantz speaks during a faction meeting at the Knesset on February 20, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

National Unity leader Benny Gantz says the likely passage of legislation to give the government control over the selection of judges in its first reading later today will be akin to cocking a gun, as he asserts he will not enter into dialogue over the judicial overhaul program under such circumstances.

“I say again ‘stop’ and we can speak seriously, it’s not too late,” says Gantz during a National Unity faction meeting at the Knesset.

“The founding fathers [of Israel] did not imagine a regime that is not democratic. They knew democracy is not just counting voters but listening to voters. Today, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, you are not listening. You are working against the will of the people, against the foundations of our country, it’s you and your friends against the founding fathers. The 2023 coalition against the Declaration of Independence.”

Gantz says there is “no reason for dialogue when they are pushing forward the legislation,” but if the process was frozen “we could come to understandings.”

Asked if he will negotiate on the terms of the government’s judicial overhaul program if the legislation is approved in its first reading this evening, Gantz likens the submission of the bill to placing a loaded gun on the table.

“Passing it in its first reading is cocking the gun and putting a bullet in the chamber and I won’t negotiate under such circumstances,” he insists.

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