Knesset Constitution Committee chairman MK Simcha Rothman (Religious Zionism party) spoke last night (Tuesday) at the Israel Heritage Foundation and Arutz Sheva - Israel National News conference in Jerusalem and discussed the status of the government's planned judicial reforms, of which he is one of the chief architects.
Rothman stated that in light of the difficulties the government has had in passing its judicial reform legislation, the coalition must return to the original reasons for the judicial reforms. "When you have the why, you can deal with the difficulties of the way."
"The reform is about two simple principles: The State of Israel is and will always be a Jewish and democratic country. In order to keep Israel a Jewish and democratic country, you have to stay Jewish and you have to stay democratic.
"The problem with the power grab of the Supreme Court of Israel and the justice system of Israel over the last 30-40 years [is that] Israel became less Jewish and less democratic," he said.
Rothman stated that 90% of Israelis understand that there is a need to reform Israel's judicial system, even if many of them oppose the reforms of the current government.
According to him, it should not be difficult to reach a wide consensus on the judicial reforms, because the center and center-left in Israel, "when you compare it globally, they would find themselves very easily in the conservative part of politics in all major countries."
When asked why the current anti-government protest movement is so successful, Rothman said: "I think we did fail partly on explaining how the measures that we are offering are dealing directly and only with the problems that prevent or hurt Israel's Jewish and democratic values."
"There are real fears, but there is no real base for the fears," he said, noting the massive funds behind the anti-judicial reform campaign.
"Every democratic country goes through changes," he said, "because that's democracy. You can never have a country that stays the same."
He noted how even though the US had a constitution, it underwent drastic changes as a society that ultimately resulted in the abolition of slavery decades after the constitution was ratified.
On accusations that the US has been interfering in the internal Israeli political issue of the judicial reforms, Rothman said: "I would never dream of interfering in issues in the US or any of Israel's friends or allies around the world, in internal issues. My expectation is that our allies and friends will do the same."
He said that the US Supreme Court has also come under heavy criticism recently, largely from the political left. "If I would talk about our courts the way Vice President Kamala Harris speaks about the US courts, they would say I'm speaking too harshly on the court. I'm not criticizing her on that, not because I agree with her or I disagree with her. It's none of my business."
"The fight is not against the reform," he declared. "The fight is against the government, the fight is against the choice of the vast majority of the people of Israel, and the fight is actually against democracy."