Internal Rift in Opposition Puts Judicial Reform Talks at Risk


Yesh Atid head MK Yair Lapid and National Unity head MK Benny Gantz seen during a discussion in the assembly hall of the Knesset, Feb. 20. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Negotiations over the judicial reform have reached a new obstacle this week due to an internal rift within the opposition, Yisrael Hayom reported.

According to officials, Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid and Benny Gantz’s National Unity Party disagreed over their demands.

Yesh Atid said any compromise was off the table until an opposition representative was appointed to the judicial selection committee and demanded that Justice Minister Yariv Levin, the main driving force behind the legislation, convene the committee no later than June.

The National Unity Party, however, did not insist on the latter demand and even argued that it was impossible to compel the justice minister to do so. The negotiating team of President Yitzchak Herzog, who is leading the talks, is said to also have been taken aback by Yesh Atid’s demand and stressed that it was indeed not possible to interfere in the work of the justice minister in such a manner.

Nevertheless, Yesh Atid officials insisted on the matter and even threatened to withdraw from the talks unless both demands are met, saying they feared Levin might not convene the judicial committee in the near future at all, hindering its work.

The National Unity Party, in turn, has maintained the strategy of dragging out the time to push the coalition to reach the legal deadline by which they would be obligated to appoint Knesset representatives to the committee – based on the current format – making it difficult to make any changes to the mechanism.

Party officials said they were satisfied with the achievement of getting an opposition representative appointed to the committee and did not wish to engage in requirements that were “irrelevant.”

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