Opposition to judicial reform is just an excuse to back anarchy over democracy, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday, as protests against his government’s overhaul plan continued into their tenth week.
“The reform is just an excuse,” Netanyahu said as he urged opposition politicians to hold talks with the coalition about the plan, which critics have warned will weaken the country’s democracy.
“The fact that for two whole months, the opposition has not responded to our repeated calls for talks, ‘roves that what interests the opposition is not the reform, but the creation of anarchy and the overthrow of the elected government.”
“I hope that there will be sincere, honest, patriotic people who care about the country, who are willing to talk,” Netanyahu said.
But he clarified, the government received a mandate from the public and it plans to fulfill it.
Opposition leader MK Yair Lapid said the offer for talks had not been genuine, as he attacked Netanyahu, stating that for him, “lying is like breathing.”
If Netanyahu, “‘offered negotiations, why do [Constitution, Law and Justice Committee chairman Simcha] Rothman and [Justice Minister Yariv] Levin continue to race with the legislation towards a coup d’état?,” Lapid asked.
'No such thing as conditional Zionism'
Netanyahu, who made his remarks at the start of the government’s weekly meeting, attacked the protesters in general, stating that opponents of judicial reform have reduced the debate to “absurd levels.”
One can’t favor “Israel's economy - and encourage the withdrawal of funds from Israel,” Netanyahu stated.
“You cannot be in favor of the rule of law - and encourage violations of the law.
“You can't be in favor of national security and encourage refusal to collapse the security of the state. You can't say ‘I'm for the state’ - but ‘if you don't accept my position I'm leaving the state,’” he continued.
“There is no conditional Zionism."
In a democracy, the elected government is responsible for the army, the policy and the security agencies, Netanyahu explained.
This principle is not just “anchored in law, it is anchored in common sense,’ he added. No one else should “determine who will command these bodies, who will lead them, and how they will be led,” Netanyahu said.
“This is the basis of every democracy and every reformed society, and if you undermine it, you undermine the very existence of democracy,” Netanyahu added.