Yuli Edelstein
Yuli EdelsteinNoam Moskowitz, Knesset spokesperson

MK Yuli Edelstein (Likud), chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, was interviewed by Channel 13 News on Saturday night, and acknowledged that he finds the government’s conduct vis-à-vis the judicial reform to be problematic.

"I am in favor of amendments to the judicial system, but I think it can be done differently. I said a few hours before the vote, at the faction meeting, that I hope the discussions on the reform will take place before we get to the second and third readings. I feel uncomfortable voting on such a heavy issue before the faction has discussed it. I've been calling for negotiations for weeks, I'm also a member of the faction - I'm not a voting machine," said Edelstein.

"The situation we are currently in is not reasonable. Discussions need to be held. I am sure there will be. We may see different things that are brought to a second and third reading and then I will decide what to do," he continued.

Edelstein was recently sanctioned by the Likud and was informed that he will not be permitted to submit bills or proposals or to speak on behalf of the Likud faction for three weeks of Knesset sessions.

The penalty is due to "breach of coalition discipline" after Edelstein failed to attend two votes on several bills in the government's judicial reform package.

Edelstein has called for negotiations with opponents of the judicial reform. On Thursday, he began holding meetings with the opponents of the judicial reform in order to increase the discourse and try to bring about a compromise.

"I started a personal project this evening. It will not bring me votes in the primaries and there are no Likud members or Likud voters. Quite the opposite. I met with the side that thinks differently, the one that has concerns," said Edelstein.

He added, "Our nation is strong and inspiring, but it is at a crossroads and although a vast majority of the nation thinks there is a place and a real need for changes in the judicial system - there is fear and apprehension."

"I have taken it upon myself and I am calling on all my friends, members of the Knesset to join this initiative - go out into the field and talk to the other side," stated Edelstein.