Likud minister breaks with Netanyahu, saying overhaul still good

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

Minister David Amsalem at the Knesset in Jerusalem on September 19, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Minister David Amsalem at the Knesset in Jerusalem on September 19, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

David Amsalem, Likud’s second minister in the Justice Ministry, says he disagrees with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Monday remarks distancing the premier from his coalition’s judicial overhaul, as Amsalem calls the controversial package a “good” idea.

“I disagree with what the prime minister said on the subject of the reform,” Amsalem says, nodding to Netanyahu’s Monday remarks on the X platform, where the premier called pieces of the reform “bad” and claimed he had stepped in to prevent their passage.

“I think that the reform that Minister Levin [presented] is the beginning of the reform, it’s not everything, and it’s the way to go, all the way. It’s a good reform,” Amsalem continues from the Knesset rostrum, speaking during a special parliamentary session on Tuesday.

“The State of Israel, I say, is not a democratic state and we want to make it a democratic state,” he adds.

Amsalem, who has been a longtime critic of the judiciary and claims it is discriminatory against Israelis of Middle Eastern origin, like himself, appears to compare the plight of right-wing Mizrahim to the official oppression of Blacks under apartheid South Africa.

“In South Africa as well, the whites eventually lost. We are not second-class citizens,” he says.

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