Minister Yariv Levin to A7:
'Nothing will deter me from changing legal system'

Next coalition partners need to show flexibility and responsibility in negotiations; option of unity government nonexistent.

Shimon Cohen ,

Yariv Levin
Yariv Levin
Flash 90

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin refers in an interview to Arutz Sheva to the chances of forming a right-wing government despite the ideological differences between the haredi factions and Avigdor Liberman's Yisrael Beyteinu and regarding the justice portfolio he is interested in receiving after the end of coalition talks.

Minister Levin believes that without reaching an agreement between the parties, there will be no government and no coalition, and therefore, these are necessary agreements. "These negotiations will be difficult and long. It'll be full of obstacles, but I hope we'll achieve the result," says Levin, who is behind quite a few coalition negotiations.

In his opinion, "the biggest controversy is in the Draft Law," but he also notes that "there are also other issues of religion and state that require bridging disputes and big gaps. There are also requirements of potential partnerships."

On statements made by haredi faction representatives who determined that ultimately there is a difference between Liberman statements to the media and talks in closed negotiating rooms. Levin says he "appreciates restraint. One of the most important things in such negotiations is restraint and not to respond immediately to any statement that will sharpen disputes and to concentrate on trying to bridge things within the negotiations.

"I know UTJ and Shas and know that they'll stand up for themselves and will do so firmly, I have no doubt about it, but if there's good will we can overcome it." he said.

On the option of a unity government ostensibly hovering over one presenting a stubborn stance in negotiations, Levin says while he should speak of a sword of a unity government threatening the smaller parties, "the truth is there's no real chance for a unity government. I also don't think this is the right thing and that's not what our voters want. Repeated elections would be a great risk and a move that would be difficult to explain to the public and cause great damage to the economy. There's no logic to that."

When asked about the loss of votes, more than 350,000 left below the electoral threshold, the absolute majority of them right-wing parties, Levin replies: "This is exactly the dangerous scenario of losing votes that I spoke about. I already spoke about the difficulty in forming a government with many small parties. We see this happening before our eyes. The public needs to go back to the voting patterns of the past, two big parties that will allow whoever wins to run affairs and keep the central portfolios in the prime minister's party."

On the correct way to solve this loss of votes, Levin says raising the threshold may cause small parties to give up the competition and prefer unions, but even this does not mean full security. "The Left understands this and joins forces before elections in a way that brings them to the starting point of exploiting their electoral potential, and on the Right it doesn't happen.

"My desire to change the justice system is a long struggle for years, ever since I was a member of the Justice Ministry, Chairman of the Israel Bar Association. A huge public joins and supports this struggle. The State of Israel is a democratic state, and the reality in which the judicial system takes on its own authority, placing itself as a sovereign over the people, the Knesset, and the government is an unacceptable situation that has no parallel in any democracy."

"Nothing will deter me from continuing this struggle," he says, and when asked about Amnon Abramovitch's quip that his appointment as Justice Minister will bring another year in prison to Netanyahu:

"I think this is a threat or a factual description of the situation, and if you want to believe it, you can think it's a joke, but what matters is the actions and not the talk ... I hope this government, whether I'm justice minister or someone else, will put this issue at the top of the list of priorities and lead a profound process of change rather than cosmetic change in the form of some sort of appointments. All the proposals are ready and many of them I submitted as a Knesset member."

Asked if all of these things could be done by MK Betzalel Smotrich, in the event that he is appointed Justice Minister, Levin replies, "Of course, I greatly admire Betzalel Smotrich, the directions he believes in are true in many cases. Backing the Prime Minister and government is necessary to carry out fundamental steps, and anyone who serves in this position and follows this path in which I believe will receive full support from me."