Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin NetanyahuReuters

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday evening addressed the Israeli public, explaining why the Knesset approved the changes to the reasonableness standard and asking the opposition to cooperate to reach broad consensus on the rest of the judicial reform.

"Today we carried out a necessary democratic process," Netanyahu said. "This process was intended to bring back a measure of balance between the authorities - what we had here for 50 years."

"We passed an amendment to the reasonableness standard, so that the chosen government will be able to lead its policies in accordance with the decision of the majority of the country's citizens. Fulfilling the will of the voters is absolutely not the end of democracy, but the essence of democracy. Because of the importance of this issue, the coalition worked in every way to bring about agreements with the opposition."

Netanyahu emphasized, "I want to tell you, this is really not something that is to be taken for granted. In previous instances of sharp public disagreements, the governments did not reach out to those who opposed them. Not in Oslo A, not in Oslo B, not in the Disengagement from Gush Katif, and not regarding the agreements to give away State land and gas reservoirs to Lebanon and essentially to Hezbollah."

"But we - we acted differently. We did agree to stop the legislation. We stopped it for three straight months. We agreed to significant changes to the original policy. And I say with pain: Not a single one of our compromise proposals was accepted. Not even one. Even today in the Knesset plenum, at the height of the vote, until the last moment, we tried to reach agreements. But the other side continued to refuse."

"I would like to remind you that until recently, officials in the opposition supported changing the reasonableness standard," he added. "A few even agreed to completely cancel it. But even if they do not agree to the reasonable amendment which was put forth, this certainly does not justify disrupting the lives and causing suffering to millions of civilians - millions of civilians who are not managing to come to work, or to hospitals, or to the airport, because of roads being blocked, ambulances being delayed, fires being set, the airport being blocked."

"And despite all this, we will continue to work towards communication and achieving agreements. We are not giving up on the chance to achieve a broad consensus, and I am telling you that it is possible. In the coming days, the coalition will turn to the opposition with the goal of holding discourse between us. We are willing to discuss everything, and immediately, and to do it during a round of talks during the [summer] break, and to reach an agreement on everything - and if necessary, we will add more time, until the end of November. That is more than enough time to reach agreements - and we have agreements. We all agree that we, Israel, must remain a strong democracy; that it should continue to protect personal rights for everyone; that it will not become a state of Jewish law; that the court will continue to be independent; and that no side should control it. I want to emphasize again: That no side control the court. It simply will not happen under our watch.

"Citizens of Israel, we must agree on one more thing: The IDF must remain outside of any political disagreement."