President Herzog Unveils ‘People’s Framework’ For Judicial Reform, Right-Wing Categorically Rejects It

Photos By : Haim Zach / GPO

JERUSALEM (VINnews) — Citing his fear of civil war which could erupt over the proposed judicial reforms in Israel, President Herzog unveiled what he termed the “people’s framework”, which he claimed was based on extensive conversations with politicians, jurists and experts from both sides of the political spectrum regarding the reforms.

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Starting his primetime address on Wednesday with macabre warnings, the president did not mince words about the threat to Israeli society posed by the debate over reforms.

“The abyss is within touching distance,” the President said. “Those who think that a civil war is something that we could not reach, have no idea.”

“I have met with thousands of citizens, the best sons and daughters of the state. In my life, in my worst nightmares, I never thought I would hear such words, even if it is only from a very small minority of people. I heard startling rhetoric. I heard real, deep hatred. I heard people – from all sides – say that the idea of blood in the streets no longer shocks them,” he said.

Herzog urged both sides “not to destroy the country and to seize the opportunity for “a formative constitutional moment.”

Herzog called his plan, drafted after hundreds of hours of deliberations in recent weeks with politicians, jurists and experts from across the political spectrum, “a golden path” that offers the best chance for a broad national agreement on reform. “This framework protects each and every one of you, the citizens of Israel,” he said. “This framework protects Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.”

Herzog’s reforms call for a judicial selections committee of 11 members of which the government would have four representatives, the judiciary would have three, the opposition two, and the justice minister would appoint two legal scholars with the agreement of the Chief Justice.

Such a panel would effectively leave the government without a majority, since the judiciary, opposition and legal jurists would constitute a 7-4 majority in selecting judges. The proposal requires seven out of 11 members to agree on appointments.

Herzog also proposed maintaining the seniority system in which The Supreme Court president is the longest serving member of the court after the previous president, unlike the government’s proposals – not yet advanced in legislation – to have the Judicial Selection Committee choose the court’s president.

Herzog’s framework would institute a rigid system for the passage of Basic Laws, giving them greater constitutional status. Under the plan, Basic Laws would not be subject to judicial review.

However, approving a Basic Law would require four readings in the Knesset. The first three could be approved by 61 MKs, but the fourth would need the approval of 80 MKs. Alternatively, the fourth reading could take place in the following Knesset, that is after new elections, and would then need only 70 MKs to approve it.

The current coalition wishes to allow basic laws to be beyond judicial review even if they are passed by 61 MKs in the current coalition.

The president’s plan would also enshrine in Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty the right to equality and a prohibition on discrimination, as well as the rights to freedom of expression, opinion, protest, and assembly which are not explicitly protected in Israel’s Basic Laws.

A process for drafting a constitution would also be initiated and a bill of rights drawn up “through broad consensus.” Herzog did not discuss at length the relationship between Judaism and democracy regarding the issue of a constitution, simply remarking that the two could be compatible.

Herzog’s proposal would allow for the High Court of Justice to strike down Knesset legislation with just a two third majority of eleven justices. The government proposals require 12 out of 15 High Court justices to approve such a move.

The president also omitted a possibility of an override clause, which is a key component of the government’s current legislation. However he proposed a Basic Law arranging the conditions of military and national service which would anchor the right of Chareidim to gain IDF army exemptions without making a blanket clause allowing the Knesset to override the court.

Herzog’s framework also opposes the attempt to appoint legal advisors by politicians, and calls for them to be appointed professionally. The current reforms call for political appointments since the government is often unable to act when legal advisors and the attorney-general prevent it from realizing its objectives.

Herzog deemed his plan “an opportunity for a balanced, smart constitutional arrangement and an agreement on the relations between the branches of government in our Jewish and democratic country, in our beloved country.

“We are at a crossroads: a historical crisis or a defining constitutional moment.”

The president decried the attempts to involve the IDF in the current embroilment and said that there was no justification of refusal to serve over the reforms. He added that most Israelis support a framework for judicial reform “that will bring both justice and peace, most Israelis want a balanced framework that will set out once and for all the balance between the branches of government, most Israelis want a broad agreement, and most Israelis want to live safe and good lives.” His framework, he said, meets those needs. “It’s not a presidential framework; it’s the people’s framework… a victory for all of Israel.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu, who is currently in Berlin for political meetings, was quick to reject Herzog’s framework.

“The things the president proposes were not agreed on by the coalition, and central elements of the proposal he offered just perpetuate the existing situation, and don’t bring the necessary balance between the branches,” the prime minister said.

Other right-wing ministers also rejected the framework, stating that in some aspects it was even worse than the current situation and basically perpetuated the demands of the opponents to judicial reform by maintaining the court’s power and independence and preventing the Knesset from being able to bypass it even on major policy issues.





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Biden is an evil child mutilator supporter.
Biden is an evil child mutilator supporter.
1 year ago

So basically more of the same and claim it is reform, Herzog who isn’t elected by the people claiming he represents the majority of the people.

1 year ago

I wish there was a reform eliminating his useless office. Parliamentary democracies have no need for appointed “presidents.”

1 year ago

What Herzog is doing is unacceptable.

Campaigning for the Gvmt/Kenesset to establish an official Constitution is one thing…

…but the changes that ‘he’ has taken upon himself to draft and foist upon the legislature with inciting warnings, are one’s that fall strictly in the authority and duty of the sitting gvmt and legislative

He should have never gotten involved with the naysayers. And he certainly should have not positioned himself as a champion for their cause.

And this idea that some theoretical concensus is necessary for the legislature to act is preposterous and promotes disruption of all acts of gvmt.

The opposition, fueled by special interests, have employed bullying, slander and extortion to completely usurp the rightful authority and duty of the legislature arising from a concensus of the electorate, totally discarding the very institution of democracy and government to achieve their interests.

Capitulation sets a precedent that would only exacerbate such madness as what’s happening now in the future.

Baruch Hashem the Gvmt rejected it!!!