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MK Simcha Rothman dispatched to NYC to explain judicial overhaul to wary US Jews

Constitution Committee chair MK Simcha Rothman leads a committee debate, January 17, 2023. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Constitution Committee chair MK Simcha Rothman leads a committee debate, January 17, 2023. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

MK Simcha Rothman of the far-right Religious Zionism party has been sent to New York to hold a series of meetings with US Jewish leaders in a bid to ease their concerns over the government’s planned judicial overhaul, the Kan public broadcaster reports.

Rothman, who is head of the Knesset’s Law, Justice and Constitution Committee, is officially in New York for the launch of former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo’s book.

But Kan says his unofficial mission is to hold a series of meetings with American Jewish groups increasingly uneasy with reforms that critics say will undermine Israel’s democracy.

The report says that due to the importance the coalition sees in his mission, he was allowed to fly even though he would be missing crucial Knesset votes.

The trip comes days after the head of North America’s largest Jewish federation made the rare step of criticizing the proposed legislation  and “imploring” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to shelve it.

In an email sent Friday to supporters of the UJA-Federation of New York, its CEO, Eric Goldstein, wrote that he is “alarmed” by recent proposed judicial reforms that would allow the Knesset to override decisions by the Supreme Court and further politicize the selection of its justices.

JTA contributed to this report

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