President Isaac Herzog Wednesday once again called for calm as Israel continues to see massive demonstrations nationwide by people opposed the judicial reform legislation proposed by the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which the opposition charges will harm Israel’s democratic nature.
“I appeal to the citizens of Israel: I hear your voice, my brothers and sisters, the voices of patriotic Israeli citizens who are ‘Haredim’ for Israeli democracy.”
Interestingly, President Herzog chose to use the Hebrew word “Haredim” which applies to Israel’s strictly Orthodox Jews. The word literally means “those who tremble” as in tremble before God. And the demonstrators are largely secular Israelis, not Haredim as Israel’s haredi-religious parties are part of the governing coalition and very much support the reform.
“I see the protest, the anxiety and the fear emanating from the depths of your hearts, a fear that I also expressed regarding the legislation as it is being presented now,” added Herzog. “I feel very well the depth of the pain, and the concern for the fate of the country.”
“We may degenerate into a terrible abyss, and on the other hand, we can reach a solution with a broad agreement,” Herzog said.
“I will not let our state reach the point of no return, I will not let this historical disaster happen. I will never give up any part of Israeli society – nor the chance to reach a broad consensus. I know many of you yearn for this; and I am anxious for our common fate, anxious for our country, whose very establishment was a visible miracle, and whose success is the fruit of all our labor.
“I believe with all my heart that this moment of crisis can be turned into a defining constitutional moment. A moment in which our democracy, the principles of the declaration of independence, the rule of law, human rights, and the checks and balances between the authorities will be preserved for generations.
“I believe that it is possible to turn the burning ground under our feet into a fertile land ripe for agreements – which will bring stability to the State of Israel for years and generations, and will reflect in the deepest way the democratic and Jewish principles of our country – which appear clearly and bindingly in the Declaration of Independence.”