First Negotiations Held at Herzog’s House, More Opposition Parties Announce Delegations

By Matis Glenn

Coalition members met with representatives of the opposition in President Yitzchak Herzog’s house Wednesday evening, following Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Tuesday decision to pause the government’s judicial reform proceedings.

While it is not known precisely what was discussed at the meeting, Herzog’s office said it lasted one hour.

The pause was a prerequisite for members of the opposition parties to enter into talks with Netanyahu and his supporters, and two parties – National Union and Yesh Atid – announced their plans to meet with coalition members at Herzog’s house soon after Netanyahu’s declaration of the pause.

Yisrael Beiteinu and Labor, however, initially said that they would not join the talks despite Netanyahu’s concession, insisting that all judicial reforms be annulled immediately. “The regime change laws must be totally shelved, everything prepared until now must be canceled,” Labor head Merav Michaeli said on Wednesday. Avigdor Lieberman, head of Yisrael Beiteinu, said of Netanyahu that “He has no intention of promoting real negotiations, but his intention is to wait for a convenient time…That is why we must continue the protest…”

But shortly after Wednesday’s meeting had ended, both parties released statements saying that they would join in future talks.

“The Labor Party has formed a negotiating team that will join the talks at the President’s residence starting tomorrow in order to make sure that the coup laws are not returned to the Knesset for a vote through the back door,” Labor said in a statement.

Representatives of the Labor Party include MK Gilad Karib, MK Efrat Reiten, former Minister of Justice Avi Nissenkorn and Dr. Tamar Hostovsky-Brands.

Yisrael Beitenu announced its team as well. The party will be represented by MK Oded Forer, MK Alex Kushnir, MK Limor Magen-Telem and attorney Guy Wagner.

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