Lapid: Reports of talks between Gantz, Netanyahu are untrue

Middle East Monitor  /  September 12, 2023

Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid said that reports indicating that talks were being held between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the head of the opposition National Unity Party, Benny Gantz, to reach a consensus on the “judicial reform” plan, are “deceitful attempts” aimed at disrupting the Supreme Court session scheduled for today.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to consider the appeals submitted against the “limiting reasonableness” law, one of the most prominent laws of the controversial judicial reform plan that is being pushed by Netanyahu’s far-right government. The reform plan sparked widespread controversy and protests which have been ongoing since January.

Earlier yesterday, Israeli media outlets reported that Netanyahu had resumed “indirect talks” with the opposition leader, former Defence Minister Benny Gantz, about a settlement regarding judicial legislation.

In response, Lapid said in a clip posted on his account on X (formerly Twitter): “What we’ve been seeing in the past few hours is not real. I support extensive agreements, but what we are seeing is an attempt to disrupt the most important debate in the history of the Supreme Court.”

“Right before the 15 judges in the Supreme Court meet, and before Netanyahu leaves for the US [next week to deliver a speech before the UN General Assembly], fictitious settlement proposals that have no foundation within the government coalition are suddenly appearing.”

Thousands of Israelis demonstrated in front of the Supreme Court in Jerusalem yesterday to show support for the body.

The Knesset approved the “limiting reasonableness” law in July, it is one of eight projects proposed by the government within the framework of judicial amendments that it says would “create a balance between the legislative, executive and judicial powers,” within the plan to “reform the judiciary.” The opposition has described this as a “coup” and believes that it turns Israel into a “dictatorship.”

The law significantly limits the Supreme Court’s ability to interfere and block government decisions, even if it deems them illogical and unreasonable.

The law would prevent Israeli courts, including the Supreme Court, from applying what is known as the “reasonableness standard” to decisions made by elected officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Removing oversight on laws which government officials vote in.