Following President Isaac Herzog’s Sunday night’s call for restoring the calm in the country and starting negotiations between coalition and opposition representatives of Justice minister Yariv Levin’s proposed judicial reform, on Monday morning, Chairman of the Knesset Constitution, Law, and Justice Mk Simcha Rothman stood before the news cameras outside his committee chambers and declared: “I welcome the president’s initiative to hold a real dialogue to deal with ways to correct the judicial system and to restore the relationship between it and the other branches of government.”
MK Rothman continued: “Long before discussing the various details and significant questions about the basic laws, the extreme reasonableness clause, or the method of appointing judges, I need to say how touched I was to hear the president’s words, which were said out of sincerity and concern for the unity of the people.”
At which point I must interrupt MK Rothman’s speech to share with you a snippet from the proceedings in his committee Monday morning – the attacking mob are opposition members.
Disgusting childish behaviour by left wing politicians today at the Knesset Constitution Committee debate as opposition MKs sang, shouted, fake cried, and jumped over the committee table to confront Rothman. They were thrown out. pic.twitter.com/k5iIWSOqAD
— Documenting Israel (@israelmuse) February 13, 2023
Back to the distinctly more civilized Rothman, he said: “The president of the state served as a mouth to many, in emphasizing the importance of unity in the nation of Israel, in his standing for the vital need to reform the judicial system, and in describing the injustices and failures––in fact, our motives for promoting the reform and returning justice to the judicial system.”
Rothman added: “There are parts of the president’s proposal that are correct in my eyes and other parts that I believe need to be adjusted to solve the problems we are experiencing and that we promised our voters to address. However, with honest talks between the opposition and the coalition, I believe we can narrow the gaps and strive for a plan that will enjoy broad agreement, as Justice Minister Yariv Levin said at the very beginning.”
However, to remove any doubt, Rothman was not prepared to stop the process, stopping the president’s appeal from turning into the filibuster the opposition is yearning for. He stated unwaveringly: “Today, one chapter of the Constitution Committee’s deliberations ends, and a vote on it is being held in the committee, in preparation for the first reading vote in the plenary.”
הידברות היא חשובה ואנחנו נעשה הכל כדי לקדם אותה. אבל למרבה הצער האופוזיציה מוכיחה שוב ושוב שאין פניה להידברות אלא לכוחנות אלימה ולא מקובלת. אני מבקש לחזק את חברי יו"ר וועדת החוקה @rothmar שלא נכנע לאלימות ומנהל את דיוני הוועדה במקצועיות ובענייניות. pic.twitter.com/sMbk3f2Ynt
— בצלאל סמוטריץ' (@bezalelsm) February 13, 2023
And while the legislative process continues, Rothman said, “As the president requested, I would be happy to sit, without any delay, with the mediation of the president and wherever he chooses, with any representative of the opposition who wishes to do so, without preconditions, to promote real dialogue and lead to a broad national consensus around the reform to fix the justice system.”
But Rothman was careful to stress: Of course, we can only discuss the details of the legislation in the legislature, the Knesset, the representative of the sovereign.” And he cited Supreme Court Justice Moshe Zilberg: “There is no lawmaker other than the lawmaker, and only the lawmaker is in charge of the legislation narrative.”
As an aside, the vote passed in the committee.