Report: PM amenable to Herzog proposal to soften ‘reasonableness,’ freeze other laws

President Isaac Herzog in Jerusalem, June 14, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
President Isaac Herzog in Jerusalem, June 14, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

The coalition and opposition have recently been holding intensive talks under the auspices of President Isaac Herzog on the government’s judicial overhaul, Channel 12 reports.

The report, citing sources in the President’s Residence, claims the prime minister has already agreed to the proposal for his part.

It would ostensibly include:

– A “softening” through re-legislation of the recently passed law voiding the reasonableness standard regarding cabinet and ministerial decisions.

– An 18-month freeze on efforts to reshape the Judicial Selection Committee and to limit the power of ministry legal counsels, which will be anchored in legislation.

– A majority of 7 of 9 members of the Judicial Selection Committee will be needed for all appointments, including the Supreme Court President. This willl necessitate agreement between the sides on the identity of the next court president.

Officials at the President’s Residence reportedly told the opposition: “If you agree, the crisis will end.” The report adds that it is not clear whether a deal will be reached.

Channel 12 correspondents note that opposition leaders are likely to suspect the prime minister is seeking to cause a delay to next week’s High Court hearing on the reasonableness law, rather than truly being interested in a deal.

In response to the report, the President’s Residence says in a statement that “the president has in recent weeks led a special effort to prevent a constitutional crisis and bring about a solution that maintains democracy and unity in Israel” and was holding talks with both sides.

“It should be stressed that no agreements have been reached.”

Likud offers a laconic statement saying “there has been no agreement” on any compromise, without closing the door on one being reached.

Protest leaders say opposition politicians “do not have a mandate for a bad compromise on democracy.”

They say “the talks will only achieve one thing: saving Netanyahu, legitimizing his destructive government and promoting his vision for a dictatorship under the cover of ‘agreements.’ The notion of agreeing on one or two laws while leaving aside the others will end with Israel becoming a Middle East version of Hungary, Turkey and Poland.”

They add: “Intensive talks on the eve of the [reasonableness] hearing at the High Court of Justice are a transparent and dirty ploy by Netanyahu and his partners.”

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