Former Defense Minister and Opposition lawmaker MK Benny Gantz pleaded with Israeli coalition members on Sunday to halt the planned judicial reforms. The reforms are a series of individual laws designed to restore the balance between the judiciary and legislative branches, that was destroyed years ago by Supreme Court president Aharon Barak who seized powers for the court that were beyond what is acceptable in democratic countries.
Gantz leaked a letter to Channel 12 News and Yediot Achronot political reporter Amit Segal that he addressed to “my friends in the coalition.” Notably, the letter was not addressed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who should have been the addressee as head of the government.
The letter is written in dramatic form, emphasizing a nation “torn apart” and harping on the current civil strife cited in Likud Defense Minister Yoav Gallant’s announcement Saturday night that he was breaking ranks to join opposition leaders in their call for a halt to the legislation, citing national security interests.
Gallant strategically chose to make the nationally televised announcement as Netanyahu was preparing to board a plane to return to Israel following an official visit to London, where he met with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and other officials.
The threat to national security cited by Gallant and now Gantz, however, is one that has been manufactured by the opposition lawmakers and their fellow protest organizers, who have dedicated the past 12 weeks and plan to continue disrupting the lives of average Israelis, most of whom support the reforms.
The protest organizers have managed to stir up and recruit Israeli military reservists, including some reserve pilots who now refuse to serve unless the government caves to the demands of the opposition lawmakers.
It seems to have escaped the military service members and others that the government is carrying out the mandate for which it was elected by a solid majority of Israeli citizens last November. Or perhaps they have simply been entranced by all the lefist media hype surrounding the issue as they spotlight the constant protests shepherded by Yesh Atid party chairperson and opposition leader Yair Lapid, a former transitional prime minister, along with other organizers.
Regardless, following is the text of the letter that Gantz clearly is keen for the Israeli public to read.
To my friends in the coalition:
The state of Israel finds itself at the edge of the precipice.
For about 80 days and night, the country has been roaring over the changes being made deep in the heart of our democratic system.
I agree on the obvious need to change, improve and correct the system for the benefit of all the citizens of the country.
I agree that the current coalition has full legitimacy to make decisions, but these should be made in a broad and nationwide manner when they touch the heart of the administrative system.
I also believe that we all share the difficult feeling of our nation being torn apart, that is the result of these legislative moves.
Everyone who listened to what the Minister of Defense said last night, heard about the danger to national security resulting from the great rift in the nation and the cracks in democracy – and thus before us we find a “clear and immediate threat”.
This is a sincere call from me to you.
As those elected by the people and believing in the rock of Israel, we all have a moral and Jewish ethical duty to take action.
Out of concern for the State of Israel and out of a sincere belief that our strength is in our unity, on the occasion of Pesach, the holiday of freedom, and the days of the return of the people of Israel as a sovereign nation in its homeland, I am turning to you with a request to immediately stop the judicial reform laws, those that have already been enacted and those that have not yet been enacted, so that we can take advantage of the holy days before us to have a conversation and calm the toxic atmosphere.
I undertake during this period to enter into negotiations in good faith and with a desire to resolve any issues with the goal of reaching agreements that will preserve the principles of democracy, but will also bring about improvements and changes.
All of this with the understanding that in these discussions the two sides will be required to to move towards each other, and to find creative solutions.
I believe the majority of Israeli citizens, at least 80%, agree on 80% of the issues.
On the basis of the broad agreement that exists in the public, we must act as the elected representatives of the people, to reach an agreed upon reform outline, which will improve the state of Israel, strengthen the separation of authorities, increase governance, and preserve the independence of the judicial system and the gatekeepers.
I implore and ask you to do this for the sake of the security of the State of Israel, its unity and future.