Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich urges calm and dialogue regarding the government’s divisive plan to overhaul the justice system, saying he has “learned lessons” in the past few months about the need for broader agreement on the key constitutional changes.
In a press conference alongside MK Simcha Rothman from his Religious Zionism party, who has spearheaded the judicial overhaul plan as the head of the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, Smotrich says he is listening to the scores of legal experts, economists and other senior officials who have decried the plan.
However, he says the government will pass a bill to cement the coalition’s complete control over most judicial appointments by the end of next week as planned.
He suggests the government is holding off and slowing progress on a range of other bills, even though critics have slammed the judge selection bill as too radical and even though Justice Minister Yariv Levin has vowed to advance the rest of the bills after the Knesset recess ends in late April.
Smotrich calls for dialogue with the opposition during the monthlong recess, even though opposition figures have demanded a halt to all progress as a precondition for talks.
“We will hold full dialogue with whoever wants, we are listening to all parts of the nation,” Smotrich says, adding that the government’s plan “isn’t the end of democracy, and those who claim otherwise are doing so for ulterior motives.”