Herzog meets with Ra’am, Hadash-Ta’al for judicial reform negotiations


2023-03-29 14:20:11

President Isaac Herzog met on Wednesday morning with representatives of Ra’am and Hadash-Ta’al, as part of a round of meetings to kick off negotiations over reforms of Israel’s judicial system.

The president is scheduled to meet with representatives of Labor on Wednesday as well.

The meetings came after the president hosted teams representing the coalition and opposition parties National Unity and Yesh Atid on Tuesday evening.

The meetings were closed to the media.

Opposition party Yisrael Beytenu said on Wednesday that it would not join the talks until the coalition retracted the controversial bill that gives the coalition a majority in Israel’s Judicial Appointments Committee from the Knesset floor. The bill needs to pass its second and third readings on the Knesset floor in order to pass into law. Yisrael Beytenu claimed the coalition could achieve this within 24 hours, and therefore was akin to “holding a gun to the opposition’s head.”

Will negotiations Knesset continue?

Ra’am party members at the campaign headquarters in the Arab Israeli town of Tamra, as the results of the Israeli elections are announced. November 1, 2022. (credit: FLASH90)

The bill passed its preparation in the Knesset Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee on Monday morning, and was sent to the Knesset floor on Monday at 6:00 p.m. before Prime Minister Netanyahu announced the legislation freeze. However, an announcement on Tuesday morning that the bill had been placed on the Knesset floor irked the opposition, and Yisrael Beytenu and others claimed that this constituted a violation of the freeze. The party said it would not join negotiations until the bill returns to the committee.

Labor expressed similar positions on Tuesday. However, on Tuesday evening the party announced that “precisely because it did not trust Netanyahu,” it was sending a team to the President’s Residence to take part in the negotiations.

“It is done with a heavy heart and not out of desire. We considered continuing to shout from outside. But the thought that elected officials will be able to concoct a shady deal there at the expense of Israeli democracy does not allow us to remain on the fence,” the party said.

The party’s representatives are MKs Gilad Kariv and Efrat Rayten, former justice minister Avi Nissenkorn and Dr. Tamar Hostovsky-Brandes.

The first round of negotiations on Tuesday evening concluded after one hour and was held in “good spirits,” the President’s Residence announced.

National Unity was the first to announce its negotiating team, which consists of MKs Gideon Sa’ar, Chili Tropper, Orit Farkash-HaCohen and Attorney Ronen Aviani.

Lapid announced on Tuesday morning that his team will consist of MKs Orna Barbivai and Karin Elharar, former Director-General of the Prime Minister’s Office Naama Schultz and Attorney Oded Gazit.

The Likud’s team of negotiators include Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, Cabinet Secretary Yossi Fuchs and Dr. Aviad Bakshi, head of the legal department at the Kohelet Forum, and Professor Talia Einhorn, the party said on Tuesday afternoon.

Yisrael Beytenu’s team includes MK Oded Forrer, former MKs Alex Kushnir and Limor Magen-Tellem, and attorney Guy Wagner.

Herzog referred to the negotiations at an event at Yad Vashem on Tuesday, and expressed his hope that they will “calm the spirits, lower the flames and lead to positive results with a broad agreement.”

The president added that he would work “in full cooperation with all of the political and public systems.”

Meanwhile, the Director-General of the Religious Zionist Party, Yehuda Vald, expressed skepticism about the negotiations and especially the role of President Herzog.

“The president is unfortunately not objective. We need to talk and reach a balanced outline. But without him, he is part of the problem, not the solution.”

Likud MK Hanoch Milvetsky also questioned the location of the negotiations, saying on Kan Radio on Tuesday that the negotiations should be held at the Knesset and not the President’s Residence, and that they should be broadcast live.

“The president’s attempt to take for himself what clearly belongs to the Knesset is incorrect,” Milvetzky said.

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Source by [earlynews24.com]