Britain on Tuesday weighed in on the Israeli government’s proposed judicial reforms and urged it to pass them with consensus.
“As the Prime Minister discussed with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this year, the UK’s strong relationship with Israel has always been underpinned by our shared democratic values,” a spokesperson from the British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office said in a statement.
“While Israel’s exact constitutional arrangements are a matter for Israelis, we urge the Israeli government to build consensus and avoid division, ensuring that a robust system of checks and balances and the independence of Israel’s judiciary are preserved,” the statement added.
The British statement joins the comments of the United States, which on Monday expressed disappointment over the fact that the first phase of the judicial reform passed in the Knesset without a broad consensus.
“As a lifelong friend of Israel, President Biden has publicly and privately expressed his views that major changes in a democracy to be enduring must have as broad a consensus as possible. It is unfortunate that the vote today took place with the slimmest possible majority,” said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre in a statement.
“We understand talks are ongoing and likely to continue over the coming weeks and months to forge a broader compromise even with the Knesset in recess. The United States will continue to support the efforts of President Herzog and other Israeli leaders as they seek to build a broader consensus through political dialogue,” she added.
The Biden administration has been very vocal thus far about the judicial reform process in Israel.
On Sunday, before the vote in the Knesset, Biden called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to move forward with the planned vote.
From the perspective of Israel’s friends in the United States, “it looks like the current judicial reform proposal is becoming more divisive, not less," Biden said in a statement to Axios’ Barak Ravid.
“Given the range of threats and challenges confronting Israel right now, it doesn’t make sense for Israeli leaders to rush this — the focus should be on pulling people together and finding consensus," the President added.