Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich unleashes a broadside attack on Opposition Leader Yair Lapid, accusing him of stymieing dialogue over the government’s judicial overhaul, and alleging that Lapid is seeking a civil war.
“Yair Lapid is the one that is purposefully harming the chances of dialogue,” the leader of the Religious Zionism party tells a party conference.
Smotrich says he spoke with President Isaac Herzog, who recently proposed a compromise outline for the government’s deeply controversial judicial overhaul, and says he gave the president his agreement to “immediately begin a process of dialogue, including a willingness for concessions and compromises.”
“Lapid isn’t interested in broad national agreement, he is not interested in the good of the State of Israel, he isn’t interested in preventing a rift in the nation. Yair Lapid wants a civil war,” Smotrich alleges.
“Don’t make a mistake, Yair Lapid hasn’t declared war on the coalition, he has declared on each and every one of you,” he concludes. “Yair Lapid has declared war on the State of Israel.”
Smotrich says his party is nevertheless forging ahead with the judicial overhaul plan, and insists that the first part of the program — giving the government complete control over the process of selecting Supreme Court justices — will pass its first reading in the Knesset plenum tomorrow.
Herzog’s proposal included a requirement that the government temporarily halt the legislative process during the talks, which the coalition hasn’t accepted.