Israel: Opposition leader Lapid rejects Netanyahu’s call to negotiate on controversial judicial reform bills
by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – Amid heated public and parliamentary controversy over the Israeli government’s plans for judicial reform, opposition leader Yair Lapid on Tuesday rejected an offer by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to negotiate the issue without preconditions, Jewish News Syndicate (JNS) reports.
Two bills put forward by the government passed their first reading in the Knesset on Tuesday, despite mass nationwide protests and intense, angry debate among lawmakers. The first bill aims to prevent the Supreme Court from ruling on Israel’s Basic Laws; the second aims to give politicians a majority in selecting judges for the Supreme Court and the lower courts.
On Tuesday, Netanyahu issued a call to Lapid in a statement saying: “Come and let’s talk—here and now—with neither pre-conditions nor excuses, so that together we might achieve broad agreement for the good of all Israeli citizens, and for the good of our country,” he added.
Rejecting Netanyahu’s invitation, Yesh Atid leader Lapid said it was necessary to stop the contested legislation from continuing through the Knesset approval process, JNS reports. Two weeks earlier, Lapid had called President Isaac Herzog to intervene and, in response, the recommended five principles as “a basis for immediate and decisive negotiations that will arrange the relations between the government branches.”
In a Twitter statement in response to the prime minister, Lapid said: “Mr. Netanyahu. This is not the time for false slogans and spins. Instead of statements to the media, phone the president, let him know that you are stopping the legislative process and starting dialogue within the framework [Herzog presented]. For many weeks now, we have been trying to hold a dialogue with [the government]. The president urged them to stop the legislation and hold talks. The Americans have asked them to stop the legislation and hold talks … Instead, they are running ahead with hasty, irresponsible and anti-democratic legislation that severely harms the economy and security.”
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