Herzog tries to calm judicial reforms crisis amid widespread protest

Israeli President Herzog said that he is doing his best to reach an agreement that is acceptable to everyone regarding the proposed judicial reforms.

 President Isaac Herzog meets with Israel's political parties to hear their recommendations for prime minister, November 10, 2022. (photo credit: OREN BEN HAKOON/POOL)
President Isaac Herzog meets with Israel's political parties to hear their recommendations for prime minister, November 10, 2022.
(photo credit: OREN BEN HAKOON/POOL)

President Isaac Herzog confirmed that he is trying to find a solution for the conflict caused by Benjamin Netanyahu's government's judicial reforms in a statement on Sunday morning.

"We are in the midst of a deep conflict that is tearing the people apart," he said. "This conflict worries me and it worries a big part of people in Israel and the Diaspora.

"The foundations of Israeli democracy – which include the justice system – are sacred and we must protect them at all costs even when there are arguments and debates on principle about the relations between the authorities. I appreciate all the arguers, all those involved, the protestors and the public involvement in this important debate. I respect the criticism of me, but at the moment, I am focusing on two critical jobs that I believe are imposed on me as president of the state at this time: Preventing a historical legal crisis and preventing the continued division of the people."

Herzog added that as the President's Residence is the only place that still has the faith of all the people, it was well-suited to mediate and find a solution that is acceptable to everyone.

"In the last week, I have been acting all the time and in every way in non-stop attempts with the relevant people in the hope of creating a dialogue and a wide-spread conversation that is attentive and respectful, and I hope to show results," he said.

 Thousands of protestors gather in Tel Aviv to protest the new government and the proposed judicial reforms of Justice Minister Yariv Levin, January 7, 2023. (credit: YAIR FELTI) Thousands of protestors gather in Tel Aviv to protest the new government and the proposed judicial reforms of Justice Minister Yariv Levin, January 7, 2023. (credit: YAIR FELTI)

He added that he wasn't sure how well he will succeed but that he wouldn't allow anyone to harm the principles of the Declaration of Independence or the Jewish and democratic outlines of the state.

"The principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Jewish and democratic outlines of the government are my guiding light, and I will not allow them to be harmed."

President Isaac Herzog

"I commit to continuing to do my best, and I hope that we can find the right way to come out of this difficult crisis," he ended.

Ehud Barak expresses doubt about Herzog's success

In an interview with KAN Reshet Bet on Sunday morning, former prime minister Ehud Barak spoke about Herzog's attempts at mediating in the crisis, saying "I'm sure of one thing – Herzog's genuine intent to do this. He's a man who has the ability to connect between people."

Despite this, Barak expressed doubt that Herzog would succeed.

Large protests against the judicial reforms have taken place on Saturday nights for the past couple of weeks and have included thousands of people as well as being attended by politicians from the anti-Netanyahu bloc.