(Jerusalem) Israeli President Isaac Herzog presented a draft compromise on Wednesday evening on the judicial reform project which divides the country, but the government immediately opposed it.
Since the announcement of the reform plan in early January by one of the most right-wing governments in Israel’s history, massive demonstrations have taken place every week in the country, to denounce what its critics describe as an anti-democratic drift. .
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his allies believe the reform is necessary to restore a balanced balance of power between elected officials and the Supreme Court, which they consider politicized.
Mr. Herzog, who plays an essentially ceremonial role, announced during a television intervention that he had spoken with leading figures from the majority and the opposition to draft this compromise proposal.
This text, described by the president as a “compromise of the people”, proposes in particular changes on the most controversial points of the reform announced by the ruling coalition.
On Tuesday, the deputies adopted in first reading one of the texts of the law of the reform tightening the conditions allowing the Supreme Court to invalidate an ordinary law and allowing the Parliament to protect a law against any cancellation by a legislative process requiring only a simple majority (61 deputies out of 120).
A new day of mobilization of opponents is announced for Thursday, after new demonstrations on Wednesday.
“Anyone who thinks a civil war is impossible has no idea how close we are to it, but I won’t let it happen,” Herzog said, adding that he believes “the majority of Israelis want a compromise. “.
The proposed compromise “must serve as a basis for negotiation and replace the current draft”, said Mr. Herzog, who does not hide his opposition to the government’s draft.
“As for the president’s compromise, I think any attempt to reach an agreement and dialogue is certainly welcome,” Netanyahu told reporters before heading off on an official visit to Berlin.
“But what the president is proposing has not been accepted by representatives of the ruling coalition. Key points in his program only perpetuate the existing situation and do not provide the required balance between powers,” he added.
In a pithy tweet, government secretary Yossi Fuchs called the presidential initiative a “one-sided compromise.”
Opposition leader Yair Lapid, on the contrary, welcomed the president’s proposal on Twitter and announced that he wanted to “make all [necessary] efforts to avoid the economic, security and social erosion which seriously harms national unity”.
The presidential proposal comes two days after the presentation in Parliament of a compromise drafted by a former minister of justice, a university director and a professor of law, which the president of this Commission, Simcha Rothman, had judged could constitute “ a basis for negotiations”.
Mr. Herzog’s draft retains the government’s idea of preventing the Supreme Court from invalidating a fundamental law, but unlike the draft currently before Parliament, proposes that the Court could continue, under certain conditions, to challenge an amendment to those laws which serve as the Constitution in Israel.
Under the terms of the presidential project, the Court could challenge an ordinary law provided that a majority of eight judges stands out of a quorum of eleven when the government project requires the unanimity of the fifteen judges of the Court for this.
Mr Herzog also proposes that any new fundamental law should be adopted after four readings, and with a supermajority of 80 deputies (out of 120) in the fourth vote, and not by three readings and a simple majority, as c is currently the case.