"I call on my friends in the opposition, and to Esther Hayut, High Court Chief Justice: Let us go to the president! Rise up and go to Zion, without preconditions," Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee chairman MK Simcha Rothman (Religious Zionist Party) said in a statement ahead of Monday morning's dramatic committee session, in which the committee approved the first law in the government's judicial reform for its first reading in the Knesset plenum.
"I bless the president's initiative to hold a real dialogue that will deal with ways to fix the judicial system and restore the balance of power between it and the other branches of government," Rothman began, referring to President Isaac Herzog's impassioned speech from Sunday evening in which he called for the sides to negotiate before the law reached its first reading.
Rothman said that he was "moved" by the president's speech, which was given "from honesty and care for the unification of the people," and "gave a voice for many" by explaining the necessity and motivation of the coalition to advance the reforms.
Rothman said that the president's proposal was not too far away from his own, but said that with goodwill the sides would be able to come to an agreement.
However, the date of the vote in the Knesset plenum for the first reading was not up to him, and was "dependent on many variables."
Rothman is willing to begin negotiations without delay
Rothman added that while he believed talks could be held parallel to the legislative process and without delaying it, he was willing to begin negotiations without delay.
After calling on the opposition and Hayut to go to the president he said, "We will respect the president and his call, as well as the importance of the hour that it represents, and show the large public that is lifting its eyes to us that we are capable of sitting and talking."
"We must not lose valuable time fighting and struggle over credit. We have a historic opportunity to change old injustices, and return the trust in the judicial system and stand where OUR forefathers only dreamed of," he concluded.
The statement was a remarkable turn away from Rothman's hawkish conduct in recent weeks and his refusal to any sort of compromise.