'Difficult' judicial overhaul debate 'moment of great opportunity' – Herzog

'Difficult' judicial overhaul debate 'moment of great opportunity' – Herzog

The "difficult but very important" public debate over the government's proposed reforms of Israel's judicial system is a "moment of great opportunity," President Isaac Herzog said on Thursday morning at the start of the Jerusalem Post's "Celebrate the Faces of Israel" conference at the Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem.

"My goal in hosting the current negotiations is to ensure that all of the faces, voices and viewpoints that make up our nation are heard and respected, while still staunchly defending the core pillars of democracy and the independence of our legal system," the president said, adding that he will do everything in his power "to help us reach broad consensus, and to emerge from this crisis stronger than ever."

Israel's enemies mistaken in seeing debate as a sign of weakness

The president in his speech argued that Israel's enemies were mistaken in interpreting the fierce debate in Israel as a sign of weakness.

"Over these past weeks, we have seen Iran and its proxies in Gaza, Syria and Lebanon – Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad - misreading the vitality of our democratic discourse as an opening to cause destruction and suffering," the president said.

 President Isaac Herzog speaks at the Celebrate the Faces of Israel conference. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST) President Isaac Herzog speaks at the Celebrate the Faces of Israel conference. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

"During Ramadan, a time of sacredness and compassion for so many, a time of tolerance, they stained our beautiful landscape with destruction and violence, and robbed the lives of innocent Israelis and tourists," Herzog continued. "We made clear that we, the State of Israel, will always take every measure to protect our people. That we will fight to maintain stability, while keeping our hand extended in peace to all nations in the region, including to our neighbors, the Palestinians."

Not only was it important to work towards democracy and equality within Israel, it was also important to strengthen unity and mutual responsibility among the entire Jewish People, the president said, adding that "here, too, I am committed to bringing the full force of my Presidency to realizing this goal."

In this regard, Herzog mentioned an initiative that he outlined last week during his address to the General Assembly of Jewish Federations of North America, called "Voice of the People: The President’s Initiative for Worldwide Jewish Dialogue." The initiative, which is a collaboration between the Office of the President, the Jewish Agency for Israel and the World Zionist Organization, aims to create a "diverse Jewish council to engage in responsible, strategic and inclusive dialogue on the most urgent and complex issues facing the Jewish People," as well as help cultivate the "next generation of committed Jewish leaders, who can carry the torch of our peoplehood forward," the president said.