US Ambassador to Israel Thomas Richard Nides
US Ambassador to Israel Thomas Richard NidesOlivier Fitoussi/Flash90

US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides on Tuesday took a swipe at Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli, who recently said that Nides should stay out of Israel’s affairs when it comes to the judicial reform being promoted by the government.

“An Israeli official that I don’t know said I should stay out of Israel’s business. I think most Israelis don’t want the US to stay out of Israel’s business,” Nides retorted in comments at the INSS conference.

“Don’t get me wrong,” he added. “We stand with Israel, and we work with Israel. The country is a beautiful democracy and it will continue to be this way.”

Nides’ comments are a response to comments Chikli made in a recent radio interview, after the US Ambassador called on Israeli leaders to “pump the brakes” on the judicial reform.

“I say to the American ambassador, put on the brakes yourself and mind your own business,” Chikli said. “You aren’t sovereign here, to get involved in the matter of judicial reform. We will be happy to discuss foreign and security matters with you. But respect our democracy.”

US President Joe Biden recently weighed in on the judicial reform, in a statement he sent to Thomas Friedman of The New York Times.

“The genius of American democracy and Israeli democracy is that they are both built on strong institutions, on checks and balances, on an independent judiciary,” Biden wrote.

“Building consensus for fundamental changes is really important to ensure that the people buy into them so they can be sustained,” the President added.

Vice President Kamala Harris later commented on the judicial reform as well, telling Politico, “As the president has said, an independent judiciary is foundational for a democracy. And I think that there is no question that we need to make sure that that is supported in terms of what we talk about [and] in terms of our values.”