Negotiations at the President’s Residence over the government’s judicial reforms were close to collapsing, Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee chairman Simcha Rothman (Religious Zionism Party) said Monday.
“Right now, we are mostly seeing hunkering down and a lack of readiness to agree to anything,” he said regarding negotiators from opposition parties Yesh Atid and National Unity.
"If there was will to arrive at an agreement, it would have been reached quickly. The fact that this did not happen shows that they are not interested."Simcha Rothman
“If there was a will to arrive at an agreement, it would have been reached quickly,” he told Channel 7 Radio. “That this did not happen shows that they are not interested.”
Rothman, who is a central proponent of the judicial reforms, said he was “committed to instigating changes in the judicial system” with “his whole soul,” and that he was “sure it would happen.”
“It is quite simple: If you stop legislation to reach an agreement, and agreements are not reached, then you continue with the legislation,” he added.
Rothman said some people involved in the negotiations “had an interest in dragging them on” indefinitely.
Israel's president says judicial reform talks aren't a waste
President Isaac Herzog on Monday said the talks were not being drawn out.
“This process takes time,” he said in a speech at Reichman University. “No one is dragging their feet, and no one is wasting time, and, contrary to all of the spin, the talks are very serious and very in-depth. People are giving of themselves and coming to the room with good intentions.”
“No one is selling the foundational values of the country,” he added. “In-depth discussions are being held about the boundaries between the branches of government. This is how it should be, since for 75 years we did not deal with this.”
“If I see any malicious acts done to sabotage the process, I will not hesitate to point them out,” Herzog said. “It is true that there are a lot of [interested parties] outside of the room who are not enjoying that we are holding dialogue within the room. But within the room, we are holding serious, significant and responsible dialogue for the good of the nation and the country.”
Legislation of the judicial reforms, which would strengthen the government in the balance of power between it and the judiciary, was frozen on March 27 after widespread protests and a general strike. The bill that progressed furthest is one that would grant the governing coalition a majority in the Judicial Selection Committee and give it the power to appoint two justices to the Supreme Court each Knesset term without the consent of the opposition or the judiciary.