The coalition will turn to the opposition in the coming days in order to renew talks over the contentious judicial reforms and continue throughout the Knesset's summer recess and even until November, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a video statement on Monday evening, hours after the Law to Cancel the Reasonableness Standard passed its final vote.
The prime minister claimed that he had attempted to reach a compromise with the opposition on the bill until the very last moment, but that the opposition had turned down every offer.
"We can continue to argue and spar, but we also can talk and agree. Let us stretch out a hand to peace within us," he said.
"We can continue to argue and spar, but we also can talk and agree."Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
"No side will take over the court. This must not happen. It will not happen on our watch," the prime minister said.
Netanyahu concluded by repeating his call for reservists not to announce they were ceasing their service and warned Israel's enemies that Israel would stand shoulder to shoulder to defend the country against any threat.
Opposition leader Yair Lapid responded with a video statement of his own, and called Netanyahu's comments "lies" and "empty theater."
"Netanyahu's declaration tonight is another lie, whose only purpose is to lower pressure from the Americans and lull the protests to sleep."MK Yair Lapid
Netanyahu's proposal to return to talks was an "empty proposal" because the real prime minister was Justice Minister Yariv Levin, Lapid charged. The prime minister was being held hostage by his extremist allies – and they are the ones making decisions, he said.
"Netanyahu's declaration tonight is another lie, whose only purpose is to lower pressure from the Americans and lull the protests to sleep. The extremist and messianic government cannot tear our democracy apart in the afternoon, and in the evening say that he proposes dialogue.
"The fight is just beginning," Lapid concluded.
Gantz promises to remove the law as soon as possible
Netanyahu's statement came minutes after National Unity chairman MK Benny Gantz made a statement of his own, in which he promised that the law would be removed as soon as possible.
"The extremists and poisoners won – and the State of Israel lost," Gantz said.
"Whoever saw the defense minister pleading with the justice minister understands how much the State of Israel needs a responsible adult."MK Benny Gantz
The National Unity leader repeated a claim he made earlier on Monday that there was a majority of Knesset members who supported broad agreements and not one-sided legislation, but they were overtaken by extremists.
"Whoever saw the defense minister pleading with the justice minister understands how much the State of Israel needs a responsible adult. This is not how you run a country – Netanyahu failed and this entire government is a resounding failure."
"Even if we lost in the battle – in the general struggle we will all win," he said.
The National Unity chairman did not say whether or not he would agree to return to talks over the judicial reforms, saying in response to a reporter's question that he would conduct a new situation assessment, and that he proposed that "Netanyahu check with his extremists if there is anything to talk about."