Israel minister tells US envoy to mind his own business

Middle East Monitor  /  February 20, 2023

Israel’s minister of diaspora and combating anti-Semitism yesterday slammed the US ambassador to Tel Aviv after the latter told CNN that the American administration is calls on the Netanyahu government to slow down the “judicial reforms” process.

Ambassador Thomas R. Nides had discussed the judicial reforms that the Israeli government intends to implement with the aim of undermining the Jewish state’s judicial system. Speaking to CNN’s Axe Files podcast, Nides said President Joe Biden will not remain silent about steps that contradict “the values that we share.”

Israeli Minister Amichai Chikli responded to Nides in an interview with Israel’s Kan Radio saying: “To Ambassador Nides I say this pure and simple – Mind your own business. You’re not privy to discussions about judicial reform. We’d love to discuss foreign affairs with you if you wish. Respect our democracy.”

Chikli’s statements come amid growing US concerns about a series of legal amendments that the Netanyahu government intends to introduce to the judicial system, in what the Israeli opposition describes as a “judicial coup” that threatens the Israeli economy and security.

Ynet had reported on Friday that hundreds of senior Israeli military and security leaders from the police, Shin Bet (internal security) and Mossad (intelligence) sent a petition to Israeli President Isaac Herzog in which they warned about the dangers of the judicial reforms. The petition asked Herzog not to sign these laws if they are passed so that they won’t come into force.


MK warns Israel losing US support at UN

Middle East Monitor  /  February 20, 2023

Israeli opposition leader, Yair Lapid, has warned of losing the United States’ support for Israel at the United Nations, over a controversial judicial reform proposal.

“The Americans talk to me all the time and they are horrified by what is happening,” Lapid said in an interview with Kan Public Radio.

Lapid refuted claims that Washington interferes in Israel’s internal affairs and said,  “We ask the US to interfere [in our affairs] every day, from aid to funding the Iron Dome. The Americans say clearly that our alliance is based on our shared democratic values, and if you don’t maintain them, then the alliance will end.”

Lapid was commenting on criticism of the US Ambassador to Israel, Thomas Nides, who said the Biden Administration has called on the Israeli government to slow down its planned judicial reforms.

Over the weekend, Ambassador Nides said on CNN’s “The Axe Files” podcast that, while the United States will not tell and dictate to Israel how it picks its Supreme Court, he said the one thing that binds Washington and Tel Aviv is a “sense of democracy and a sense of democratic institution”.

“That’s how we defend Israel at the UN; that’s how we stand up for the values that we share,” he added.