Justice Minister “Yariv Levin wants a civil war,” according to a senior member of the Likud who spoke to The Jerusalem Post on the condition of anonymity on Wednesday as the Knesset began its two-and-a-half-month break earlier this week.
Levin is the architect of the governing coalition’s highly contentious judicial reforms. The legislation, which saw its first aspect passed in the form of the “Law to Cancel the Reasonableness Clause” last week, set off months of intense social and political turmoil, with more than 100,000 Israelis protesting against the reform weekly across the country.
Though many of the legislation’s critics have been open to some sort of change in the way the country’s judicial system is run, particularly in how the bench is formed and the Reasonableness Clause, there has been little sympathy for the relatively rushed process the law has undergone.
This has been echoed publicly by members of the governing coalition, including Likud MKs such has as Yuli Edelstein, David Bitan, and Eli Dallal.
Edelstein spoke to Channel 12's Meet the Press last Saturday evening and told them that he had pushed for talks since the reform was first proposed by Levin in January.
He lamented that he had "fallen asleep a little" in his advocacy, lambasting both sides for their inability to come to a serious agreement at the President’s Residence.
Israel's new reality and the growing schism in Israeli politics
"Every time there is a compromise proposal, someone vetoes it - enough,” Edelstein told Channel 12. "From now on they will need to explain from A to Z what is going to vote, when it's advancing, and what formula. This is the new reality, and this is my lesson. If not, it looks like they will need to make do without me."
Dallal wrote last week on Twitter following the Tisha B’Av fast, the national day of mourning for the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, as well as other calamities that befell the Jewish people throughout history, that “I announce that I will only support moves that are achieved through a broad national consensus.”
The senior Likud member echoed this point, emphasizing that there is a “large group in the Likud that opposes Levin,” more so than has come out publicly. He even went as far as to say that Levin’s actions are “destroying the State of Israel.”
The justice minister had been considered a front runner in the hypothetical race to replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when the premier decides to retire in the future. This turmoil creates a schism in the Likud, particularly as Levin would have to one day garner a majority of support within his party if he even wanted the top seat on their election list, never mind find himself in the Prime Minister’s Office.
The senior official stressed that as of today, though the Knesset will not reconvene to debate legislation until after the Jewish High Holidays in the middle of October, “Levin does not have the majority to pass the next laws he wants to pass.”