President Herzog Claims Sides ‘Closer Than Ever’ To Agreements On Judicial Reforms, Decries IDF Refusers

FILE - In this Monday, March 27, 2017, file photo, Isaac Herzog speaks at the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington. The Israeli parliament on Wednesday, June 2, 2021, is set to choose the country's next president, a largely figurehead position that is meant to serve as the nation's moral compass and promote unity. Two candidates are running — Herzog, a veteran politician and scion of a prominent Israeli family, and Miriam Peretz, an educator who is seen as a down-to-earth outsider. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

JERUSALEM (VINnews) — President Yitzchak Herzog, who has been actively attempting to mediate between government officials and opponents of judicial reform, gathered a group of 100 mayors and heads of local councils on Monday to promote the negotiations over the reforms, according to a report by Arutz Sheva.

Herzog spoke of what he termed “a moment of supreme national danger”. He stressed that “In the special prayer said this morning for the fast day, I noticed the words, ‘because we are in great trouble’. It is also written that we are a ‘stiff-necked people.’ I think that these two aspects – the great trouble we are in, and our stubborn nature – are now combining to create one of the greatest challenges the State of Israel has ever faced. We are in crisis, one that threatens to destroy us from within.”

Herzog added that everyone must agree that the army should be kept totally out of this. “The army must not be dragged into the debate. The IDF is the army of us all and it is vitally important for our protection,” the president averred.

“You, the heads of local authorities, can see first-hand the terrible damage being caused,” Herzog continued. “I am referring to a dramatic increase in requests for mental health treatment, and I have already received a report from the Eran [mental health assistance] association that a quarter of the inquiries are related to the crisis and its consequences.

“We also know that the consequences of the crisis are likely to have a huge economic impact,” the president claimed. “They have not been felt yet, but will likely be felt in the next few quarters – and then what will happen? We’ll see budget cuts, followed by more applications for unemployment benefit. Companies will start withdrawing their investments and may even entirely divest their funds. This could have enormous and profound consequences that we cannot even begin to estimate.

“The main thing that worries me is that we are now approaching our 75th Independence Day, a day that should be full of rejoicing, but instead, this year, we find ourselves divided, with violence and non-stop protests and potentially even a total paralysis of the state,” Herzog added.

“The reforms as they currently stand endanger the democratic foundations of the State of Israel,” he continued. “I have already said that it is absolutely legitimate to discuss reforming the judicial system, and that there aspects of the reforms that are indeed advisable. What I can tell you is that in the last few weeks I have done everything in my power to bring about discussion and enable the sides to reach an agreement.

“I maintain that in the current position, we are closer than ever to the possibility of an agreed outline. There are agreements behind the scenes on most things. They make sense and they are reasonable. On the other hand, it depends on our national leadership, the leaders of both the coalition and the opposition, on whether they will succeed in rising to the magnitude of the moment in recognition of the terrible alternative that is lurking – on whether they will put the country and its citizens above everything else.

“The outline that I am working to formulate provides answers to those on both sides of the debate. It lays down important and historical constitutional foundations, and anchors a healthy balance between the branches of government. It preserves democracy and human rights as well as the independence of the judicial system. It also protects minorities and will preserve the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state based on the principles of the Declaration of Independence.

“We are now at the eleventh hour, and I am appealing to you, the heads of local authorities, to help, as you wield immense power! Go out and appeal to everyone who is involved in the process and to everyone with influence, use all your connections and influence to help bring this crisis to a solution.”




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3 months ago

Most people in the current coalition have never served in the army. How can they complain about reservists refusing to serve?