On Thursday morning, Attorney-General Gali Beharav-Miara sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, ordering him not to involve himself in any way in his government's proposed legal reforms due to "conflict of interest" resulting from his own criminal trials, which are still in process.
Responding to the attorney-general's letter, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir decried her attempts "to threaten the Prime Minister and the Israeli government. Threats are not the way to change policies and the government will not be intimidated. If they want discourse, then that is legitimate; however, they have to understand that threats such as these only make the government more determined to legislate the reforms as swiftly as possible."
Coalition chairman Likud MK Ophir Katz has called Beharav-Miara's letter "absolutely absurd, aside from being an attempt to silence people. Prime Minister Netanyahu headed into the elections with all these issues being put before the general public, including judicial reform, and we received a clear mandate from the public to implement these reforms."
Katz added that, "If we take the attorney-general's words to their logical conclusion, every single judge and legal adviser would also be barred from commenting or intervening on the reforms, due to their conflict of interest. This incident is just one more piece of evidence showing how desperately we need these reforms in order to restore our democracy to where it should be."
Justice Minister Yariv Levin added that Beharav-Miara had failed to respond to the inflammatory words spoken by a prominent Israeli attorney at a conference in Eilat this week, commenting that the letter indicated her own set of priorities. The attorney in question said openly that if the government went ahead with the judicial reforms, he would "not hesitate to take up arms."
"Yesterday, we heard extremely grave comments made by an attorney at a legal conference. We might have expected the attorney-general to speak out on such an incident, but no - she and her team of advisers chose instead to busy themselves with writing yet another opinion piece designed to prevent the prime minister from implementing his platform."
Levin added that, "It seems that 'conflict of interest' is a very strange beast. Publicly elected officials aren't allowed to talk about their planned judicial reforms, but the attorney-general and her team can do whatever they like in an attempt to thwart those reforms, ones which relate directly to the sphere of their authority."