Thomas Nides
Thomas NidesConference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations

US Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides called on the Israeli government to work to build a consensus for judicial reform, even as he downplayed concerns over internecine strife.

Speaking at an event in Jerusalem hosted by the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, Nides lauded Israeli democracy as “vibrant,” citing the high turnout level recorded in Israel’s Knesset election last November.

“This is a vibrant, vibrant democracy. Seventy-two percent of Israelis showed up for the fifth time in two years.”

Echoing Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s call earlier this month for dialogue aimed at achieving a compromise on the judicial reform plan, Nides called on the Netanyahu government to “build a consensus.”

“As the President said, what binds us together is the love for democracy and its institutions, which brings us to defend Israel as we do time and time and again. On occasion we express some views - similar to President Herzog has done - in calling to build a consensus.”

“Israel’s judicial system could probably build with reform. The US judicial system could probably do with some reform. All I am saying is, try and build a consensus around what should be done.”

"Israel is a democracy and will remain a democracy, with the majority rule and proper safeguards for civil liberties, that's the first thing. The second thing is all democracies should respect the will of other free peoples just as we respect their democracy."

"The third is that there's been a lot of rhetoric that is frankly reckless and dangerous, including calls for bloodshed and calls for civil war. Well I'm going to disappoint Israel's enemies. If you are waiting for civil war. It ain't gonna happen. It's not gonna be a civil war. There will be no bloodshed, I hope, not at all. Yes, we have heated debates in Israel we've always had. Yes, Israel is up rambunctious democracy It's always been. But we are one people with one destiny, with one country, and for 75 years, we have stood together side by side to establish and build our one and only state and we will continue to work to secure that only for generations to come."

Nides said the Biden administration has accepted the policy instituted by the Trump administration of recognizing the Golan Heights as part of the State of Israel, and vowed to expand the Abraham Accords, a diplomatic initiative first launched by the Trump administration.

“I love the Abraham Accords both as a diplomat and as one who spent a lot of time in the private sector. The prime minister’s legacy is very much tied to this.”

“It is one of the most significant events in the Middle East, and the Biden Administration has fully embraced the Abraham Accords. We are having conversations with these countries that we never had before. We are working together and thinking and talking about what comes next.”

“The Abraham Accords were built to last and my job is to take it to the next level.”