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Report: PM told US National Security Adviser Judicial Overhaul Will Be Softened


TOI Staff

Times of Israel, Jan. 22, 2023


“The prime minister has told us he wants to do big things. And we want to do big things, too. But if we want to achieve those things, we can’t wake up and have one’s backyard on fire. So he’s going to have to manage the things we care about… effectively.”


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told visiting US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan that the government’s controversial judicial overhaul will not be as dramatic as has been presented, according to a TV report Sunday.

The unsourced report on Channel 12 news stated that Netanyahu told Sullivan during the pair’s meeting last week in Jerusalem that he would work to ensure that any judicial reform is passed with broad agreement, and that the final legislation will be watered down from the hardline version presented earlier this month by Justice Minister Yariv Levin.

The network said Sullivan told the Israeli premier that “the liberal, democratic public [in the US] and we in the administration do not like the direction you’re going in, with regards to the judicial reform.”

He ostensibly added that “if there is harm to democratic values, it will make it difficult for us to offer unwavering and unhesitating support for Israel.”

Netanyahu reportedly responded that, as far as he was concerned, any reform would be passed “with broad consensus, and will not pass as it is currently presented.”

The push by Netanyahu’s government to remake the judiciary would include transferring the appointment of judges to political control and severely limiting the High Court’s oversight of the government, creating a mechanism to re-legislate laws struck down by the court. His government says it is necessary to correct the balance of power between the political and judicial branches. Critics, including over 100,000 Israelis who took to the streets on Saturday night to protest the overhaul plan, say it threatens democratic institutions and endangers civil liberties by giving virtually all power to the governing coalition.

Channel 12 noted that, within the coalition, Netanyahu has conveyed a different message, even telling heads of parties that he needed “quiet on the settlement outpost front in order to push forward the judicial reform.” Netanyahu’s far-right allies have reacted with anger to the evacuation of an illegal West Bank outpost in recent days. … source


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