Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday night rejected President Isaac Herzog's proposed judicial reform compromise plan, claiming that the proposal does not solve the issues that necessitated a reform of the judicial system in the first place.
"I think that any attempt to reach an agreement and to negotiate is certainly appropriate, and therefore the representatives of the coalition went and talked with the president time and time again, while the representatives of the opposition are still not ready for negotiation," Netanyahu said before departing for a diplomatic visit to Germany.
“The things the president proposes were not agreed on by the coalition, and central elements of the proposal he offered just perpetuate the existing situation, and don’t bring the necessary balance between the branches of government in Israel. This is the unfortunate truth," he added.
Education Minister Yoav Kisch responded on behalf of the Likud party and said that "any attempt to reach an agreement is welcome, but for weeks that the coalition representatives held negotiations with the president while the opposition representatives refused to hold any negotiations. The outline presented by the president did refer to issues in the reforms, but unfortunately it includes key clauses that only perpetuate the existing situation and do not produce the minimum necessary balance between the branches of government."
Opposition leader and Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid welcomed the President's proposal and said: "We must approach the president's outline out of respect for the office, the seriousness with which it was written and the values that stand at its foundation."
Lapid criticized the coalition's response to the outline, saying that "Its response to the outline shows contempt for the institution of the presidency, a complete disdain for the magnitude of the hour and the possible erasure of the idea that we are one nation. As long as the coalition continues to rush through extreme and predatory legislation, the danger to Israeli democracy has not passed and we will continue to fight for a Jewish, democratic, liberal and strong Israel."
The National Unity party congratulated President Herzog on "the supreme effort that the president devoted to the unity of the people of Israel, the prevention of a constitutional crisis, and the prevention of a civil war that could break out among us."
"The National Unity faction accepts the president's outline in its entirely, as a basis for legislation instead of the existing dangerous legislative outline. We call on Netanyahu and all the parties in the political system to behave responsibly, at this fateful hour, to adopt the outline, and to start promoting it immediately," the party's statement reads.
Former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also voiced his support for the President's proposal and wrote that "there are no winners and losers in the President's outline."
This is a solution to the terrible crisis that endangers the State of Israel. Even for me as a member of the right-wing camp who has been talking about judicial reform for many years, this outline is not the fulfillment of all my dreams, but at the moment I understand that there is a real danger of civil war hovering over Israel, and the most important thing is to reach broad agreements. We say yes to the Presidents' 'People's Framework.' And we will remain united," Bennett said.