Another round of talks at the President’s residence on reaching a compromise on the judicial reform is scheduled for Tuesday. The coalition representatives will come to the meeting empowered by the huge right-wing rally in Jerusalem last Thursday in favor of continuing the legislation. The rally was unmistakably a show of support for Justice Minister Yariv Levin and Constitution Committee Chairman MK Simcha Rothman and a message of caution to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Meanwhile, the Likud accuses Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid representatives at the talks of doing everything to prevent agreements.
Maariv on Sunday cited coalition sources who argued that the reason Netanyahu was absent from the demonstration was his awareness that it was aimed against him. The PM is reluctant to proceed with the legislation in the Knesset’s summer session, fearing a repeat of the wave of mob resistance that would once again paralyze the country. He doesn’t need the headache, especially since he has already won the only legislation he really wanted: the law limiting the definition of a PM’s incapacity to health issues.
According to Likud senior officials speaking to Kan 11 News, as long as Yesh Atid takes part in the talks, it won’t be possible to reach a compromise. They suggest that only if the talks are held with representatives of Benny Gantz’s National Camp, without Yesh Atid, will there be a chance of reaching agreements.
They may be right, but using divide & conquer at this stage of the game will not quell the angry mob. It would only diminish Gantz’s chances to cash in on his stupendous rise in the polls. Which, you know, could be the idea.
Among other things, the Likud officials cite Yesh Atid’s demand to include the Haredi draft in the talks at the President’s residence, as well as other issues of disagreement between Lapid and Gantz. Yesh Atid accused Likud of using divide & conquer methods, but in this case, Likud may be right in accusing Yesh Atid of doing the same thing.
According to Yesh Atid, they are in complete agreement with the National Camp on the central issue, namely that they object to the coalition being allowed to choose two Supreme Court judges in the committee to elect judges.
At the beginning of the talks, the coalition team made it clear that they wanted a package deal. They won’t agree to pass one component of the proposed reform without all the other issues. Either they reach an agreed outline which they would approve in a vote in the Knesset, or they would go back to pushing through the reform unilaterally, which they can always do with their 64-mandate majority.
But now, according to Maariv, citing Likud senior officials, they won’t resist the idea of picking one issue on which everyone in the room agrees and passing it through the Knesset with broad support. They envision adding the National Camp’s 12 mandates to the coalition’s 64, to yield a respectable 76-vote majority and rubbing Yair Lapid’s nose in it.
The mob would still go out to the street, but the majority of Israelis would consider it just a nuisance, the unhappy noise of a defeated minority.
And this vision can only come true without Yesh Atid in the room. Now, it’s up to Gantz.