Herzog: ‘Lack of Dialogue Is Tearing Us Apart From the Inside’


President Yitzchak Herzog speaks at the Ashmoret Conference in Tel Aviv, Tuesday. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

President Yitzchak Herzog warned on Tuesday that national divisions over a controversial judicial reform plan are like a “barrel of explosives on the verge of exploding.”

Addressing the Ashmoret educational conference in Tel Aviv, Herzog said, “the lack of dialogue is tearing us apart from the inside, and I tell you clearly: this barrel of explosives is on the verge of exploding. This is an emergency, and the responsibility lies on us.”

The new government recently unveiled plans to reform Israel’s judicial system. The proposals include a controversial Override Clause, a process that would allow the Knesset to enact certain laws even if the High Court rules them unconstitutional.

Supporters of the reforms say they want to end years of judicial overreach while opponents describe the proposals as antidemocratic.

“I observe Israeli society, the citizens, and the political and public system. I see the camps prepared and ready along the entire front for an all-out confrontation over the image of the State of Israel, and I am anxious that we are on the brink of an internal struggle that could end us,” Herzog said.

“We need to know how to manage the dispute, whether it is between the government authorities. We are not succeeding even to argue. The responsibility placed on us is clear – to listen to the other’s wishes and no less important – to make our voice heard,” Herzog said.

Herzog described the reforms as “dramatic,” then said, “My firm position, which I have already expressed, is that the foundations of Israeli democracy – including the legal system, rights and the freedoms of every man and citizen – they are sacred; and we must guard them – and the values ​​of the Declaration of Independence – with every vigilance.”

He did not comment on a suggestion by opposition leader Yair Lapid that a presidential panel formulate what he called “a more balanced” plan.

“It is permissible and appropriate to criticize each of the authorities, and it is important to understand the depth of the frustration, anger and pain that underlie the criticism. It is legitimate to have a practical discussion about the boundaries of the sector and the relationship between the authorities – just like what happens in many democracies in the world,” Herzog stressed.

“But by talking. By listening. Without dismantling our foundations, without throwing the baby out with the bathwater, without undermining the infrastructure we built with so much effort.”

To Read The Full Story

Are you already a subscriber?
Click to log in!