The leaders of Israel's coalition government, including National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, slammed President Isaac Herzog's “People’s Outline” – a comprehensive document intended to end the current conflict in Israel over the government’s proposed reforms of Israel’s judicial system – on Wednesday night.
Representatives of Israel's government issued a joint statement opposing Herzog's proposal: "The proposal of the president of the country means the complete cancellation of the necessary changes in the judicial system. It is one-sided, biased and unacceptable. The proposal ignores the root problems presented by the president in his first speech and even exacerbates them," the coalition government statement said.
Later in the evening, the controversial Ben-Gvir commented on the proposal, saying that "the outline he presented is not the outline of the people - but the outline of Lapid and Gantz, which means leaving the existing situation in which the judicial branch tramples the legislative branch and does not enable the government to fulfill its policies for which it was elected by the people."
"The people chose to reform the judicial system – and with God's help, it will pass," Ben-Gvir declared.
Herzog's “People’s Outline”
Earlier on Wednesday, Herzog made an impassioned plea to the Knesset to accept a compromise on judicial reform or risk falling into an "abyss" of political division.
“The last few weeks have been tearing us apart,” the president began. “They are harming Israel’s economy, security, political ties and especially Israeli cohesion. The family Shabbat meals have become an arena of struggle – friends and neighbors have become rivals. The conflicts are getting worse; The worries, the fears, the anxieties – they are all more tangible than ever,” Herzog said.
“Those who think that a real civil war, with lives lost, is a line we will not cross, have no idea. Precisely now, 75 years into Israel’s existence, the abyss is at our fingertips.”
Likud MKs expressed their disapproval of the president's proposal shortly after the end of Herzog's speech, saying that it did not adequately strike a balance between legislative and judicial branch powers within the government.
Opposition MKs were more open to the proposal, with opposition leader Yair Lapid congratulating Herzog for the proposal. "The State of Israel is being torn apart and we must make every effort to prevent economic, security and social disintegration that seriously harms national resilience," Lapid said in response to the directive.
The Israel Democracy Institute also issued a statement in support of the proposal, saying "President Herzog listened to all parts of the Israeli people, exhibited leadership at a time of unprecedented crisis, and produced a serious proposal that gives hope to many that it may still prove possible to bridge the gaps within us."
Eliav Breuer contributed to this report.