Israeli parliament, Knesset, has entered two crucial days to determine the Zionist entity’s future, as several officials are warning that “Israel’s existence” is at stake.
On Sunday, the Knesset debates were held on a judicial reform bill submitted by the coalition and aimed at limiting the Israeli courts’ ability to rule on the “reasonableness” of the government’s decisions.
Likud Rejects Histadrut Proposal
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party come out against the Histadrut labor federation’s proposal for changing the “reasonableness” bill and resuming talks on the coalition’s judicial overhaul plans.
The party claimed that the bill amounts to a “unilateral acceptance” of the opposition’s stance.
“The proposal completely neuters the amendment on the issue of reasonableness and requires total concession on all the other elements of the reform,” the party said in a statement, as its lawmakers voice rejection to the bill.
The framework put forward by the Histadrut and a group of businesses calls for curtailing the scope of the “reasonableness” bill in its current form, and for an 18-month pause on advancing judicial legislation without broad agreement to allow for compromise talks.
Netanyahu Appears after Getting Pacemaker
In his first remarks since having a pacemaker fitted overnight and after doctors revealed he’d had a potentially life-threatening “transient heart block,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put out a statement on Sunday.
“As you can see, I’m doing great,” he said in a video from the hospital.
He referred to the deliberations on the coalition’s contentious “reasonableness” bill, ahead of the expected final votes in the next day.
“We are continuing with the efforts to complete the legislation — and the effort to do so with agreement,” he said.
“In any case, I want you to know that tomorrow morning I’ll join my friends at the Knesset,” Netanyahu added.
Lapid: Gov’t Decided to Push ‘Israel’ into Abyss
For his part, Opposition leader Yair Lapid slammed the ruling Likud party for rejecting the Histadrut’s proposal.
“The opposition was prepared to deliberate [the proposal] but the coalition immediately rejected it out of hand,” Lapid says in a statement.
“It’s not clear who decided to say ‘no’ in their name, but it’s clearer than ever that the extremists in the government decided to push the State of Israel into the abyss.”
Gantz: Rift Seeping into Military
Earlier on Sunday, National Unity party leader Benny Gantz said urged the coalition to halt Sunday’s legislation, warning that the rift is seeping into the Israeli military.
Pleading for a return to negotiations on consensual judicial reform, Gantz told the Knesset: “Partial agreement on ‘reasonableness’” would not solve the crisis if this bill is only the first stage of a wider revolution in the way Israel is governed.
“We must stop, agree, and continue together. I again call on the prime minister and the coalition members who have a sense of responsibility. This framework [of consensus] is right for the State of Israel.”
The Israeli opposition leader warned that the social divisions tied to the coalition’s plan to sap the judiciary of power are spilling over into the Israeli military, as 10,000 reservists say they will not show up for voluntary duty in protest.
While Israeli politics generally endeavors to “keep the IDF outside of disagreements,” Gantz said that “my fear is that’s not the case today.”
“Part of the damage is already irreparable,” Gantz said, insisting on urgency.
Halevi: ‘Israel’ Won’t Exist
On the other hand, Israeli military chief Herzi Halevi warned in a letter published Sunday that if the army won’t be “strong and cohesive” then the Zionist entity “won’t exist as a nation in the region.”
The Israeli Chief of Staff opened his letter with the army’s mission, “to defend the country, to win the war, to ensure its existence.” He defined the strength as coming from “the high readiness for war and the internal and external cohesion.”
“The IDF was born in a time of crisis, out of the need to ensure the existence of the State of Israel. This purpose has not changed even today,” Halevi explained.
In regards to “the assessment of the situation;” the top Israeli commander brought up the recent security incidents, saying that “the urgent outweighs the important.” He added, “we worked to stay out of the controversy, but given its intensity in Israeli society, we got caught up in it and cohesion was damaged. It is our duty to prevent the cracks from expanding.”
Halevi then called “the essence of the dispute” as legitimate, though that was not what he wanted to address, detailing those dangerous cracks as a soldier “thinking that an Air Force pilot will not help him because of that dispute.”
Tens of thousands of demonstrators, opposed to the reform, gathered Saturday evening outside the Knesset and the Supreme Court in occupied Al-Quds (Jerusalem), after having marched from Tel Aviv in order to put pressure on the lawmakers.
Tens of thousands reach Jerusalem on foot, just 2 days before the Knesset vote marking the introduction of Netanyahu’s judicial coup. The countdown has started with mass protests across the country and more reserve army and airforce vowing to quit service. pic.twitter.com/1mssnCuxdL
— Louis Fishman لوي فيشمان לואי פישמן (@Istanbultelaviv) July 22, 2023
Similar rallies are planned on Sunday night, Israeli media reported.
The bill, approved in the first reading two weeks ago, will then be voted on in the second and third reading, which will take place on Monday. If passed, it will be the first major component of the proposed judicial reform to become law.
The reasonableness clause forced Netanyahu in January to dismiss the government’s number two, Aryeh Deri, convicted for tax evasion, following the intervention of the Supreme Court.
Source: Israeli media