Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told visiting US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan that the government’s controversial judicial reforms were as dramatic as they were presented, according to a television report on Sunday. said it wouldn’t be.
According to unsourced reports in Channel 12 News, Netanyahu told Sullivan at his meeting in Jerusalem last week that he would work to ensure that any judicial reforms would be passed with broad agreement, and that the final law would be more favorable. He said he would be watered down from the hardline version. Justice Minister Yariv Levin made the announcement earlier this month.
According to the network, Sullivan told the Israeli prime minister: [in the US] We in the Administration do not like the direction you are going in terms of judicial reform. “
On the surface, he added, “If democratic values are undermined, it will be difficult for us to stand steadfastly and unhesitatingly in support of Israel.”
Netanyahu is believed to have replied that, as far as he is concerned, any reforms “will be passed with broad consensus and not as currently presented.”
The Netanyahu government’s push for judicial reform includes bringing the appointment of judges under political control, severely limiting High Court oversight of the government, and creating mechanisms to re-enact laws that courts have rejected. His government says it needs to fix the balance of power between political and judicial branches. Critics, including more than 100,000 Israelis who took to the streets Saturday night to protest the reform plan, say the reform threatens democratic institutions by giving virtually all power to the ruling coalition. said it endangered civil liberties.
Channel 12 noted that within the coalition, Netanyahu was conveying a different message, even telling his party leaders that they needed to “be quiet on the front lines to advance judicial reform.” Netanyahu’s far-right allies have reacted with anger to the illegal evacuation of West Bank outposts in recent days.
In public comments, neither Netanyahu nor Sullivan mentioned judicial reform, which has dominated headlines in Israel for weeks and has caused controversy abroad.
On Thursday, a US official confirmed that Sullivan had raised the controversial issue but did not elaborate.Netanyahu’s office also declined to comment.
US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides has held several meetings in Israel in recent weeks related to US concerns over the planned overhaul, according to Channel 13 news. Nides said in an interview with the Times of Israel that the US “is not going to tell.” [Israelis] How to build their judicial system. “
Meanwhile, at a cabinet meeting on Sunday, ministers attacked the High Court over Shas leader Aryeh Deri’s disqualification as minister, Channel 13 reported.
According to the network, National Security Minister Itamar Ben Guvir argued that the court “would have ruled differently” had Deli been a member of a government headed by the opposing Knesset bloc.
MK Haim Biton of Shas, minister within the Ministry of Education, said the court said: [right-wing] block. “
At a cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said he was “compelled and heartbroken” to sack Deli and follow a court ruling on Wednesday to end Deli’s dual appointment as home and health minister. Effective Tuesday. Deli’s Shas party is calling for Netanyahu to find a way back into the cabinet, and the prime minister has promised to find “any legitimate way that you can continue to contribute to the state of Israel.”
Deli promised to continue to lead Shas as a member of the Knesset, chair the factional meetings, and attend meetings of the coalition leaders.
In comments on Sunday, the prime minister condemned the court’s “unfortunate decision” to strip Deli of his ministerial post, saying it was “shown by the great trust the public has placed in the elected representatives sitting in my government. In other words, it ignored the will of the people,” he said. , when it was clear to all that you would serve in the Cabinet as Senior Minister. “