It took just a few minutes from the end of the President's speech regarding a compromise in the judicial reform laws until the Knesset members and ministers in the governing coalition announced that they emphatically rejected the compromise outline he proposed. Benny Gantz’s party said that the outline was acceptable to them, and Yair Lapid’s “Yesh Atid” party said a lot but fell far short of endorsing or criticizing the President's suggestions. Thus, after many months, the option of negotiations between the parties was closed, and the government will continue to push judicial reform unilaterally.
After postponing his trip to Berlin due to the President's speech, Prime Minister Netanyahu announced on the steps of the plane that he does not accept the outline. "The things presented by the president were not agreed upon by the coalition representatives. Key sections of the outline he presented only perpetuate the existing situation and do not bring the required balance to the Israeli authorities. This is the unfortunate truth," Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu rejects President's judicial reform compromise: President Isaac Herzog presented his compromise outline plan last night. https://t.co/WsV9ttm9yg Globes pic.twitter.com/xkM5Qbv6t2— Jewish Community (@JComm_NewsFeeds) March 16, 2023
Secretary of the Cabinet, Yossi Fox, tweeted "for the avoidance of doubt", that the president's outline is, according to him, "a unilateral outline of the president and not an outline agreed upon in any way by any party in the coalition." In a joint statement, the heads of the coalition factions unanimously opposed the proposal. "The President's proposal means the complete cancellation of the necessary changes in the judicial system. It is one-sided, biased, and unacceptable. The proposal ignores the root problems presented by the President in his first speech and even exacerbates them."
On the other hand, the head of the opposition and chairman of Yesh Atid Yair Lapid congratulated the president but refused to say whether he supported the compromise. "We must approach the president's outline out of respect for the status, the seriousness with which it was written, and the values that stand at its foundation." He attacked the coalition's response and wrote that it was "a disgrace to the institution of the presidency, a complete disdain for the state of the nation, and the erasure of the idea that we are one nation."
BREAKING: President Herzog on the crisis over Netanyahu’s judicial overhaul plan: “Whoever thinks a civil war is something we will not reach does not know what he is talking about”— Barak Ravid (@BarakRavid) March 15, 2023
Lapid further announced that the struggle will continue. "As long as the coalition continues the gallop of extreme and predatory legislation, the danger to Israeli democracy has not passed and we will continue to fight for a Jewish, democratic, liberal, and strong Israel."
"We promised a reform, not a perpetuation of the existing situation," tweeted Likud Minister Miki Zohar. Coalition MK Tali Gottlieb added: "A majority for the opposition in the committee for appointing judges? Why even win the election? It's better to lose."
Herzog presented his proposal for compromise on constitutional and judicial reforms that would replace the Netanyahu government's controversial judicial overhaul plan. https://t.co/qvVnfN0RD3— Axios (@axios) March 15, 2023
Meanwhile, the party of Benny Gantz, often seen as the voice of reason within the opposition embraced the proposal, although some speculated that they did this knowing Netanyahu would reject it and their left-wing opposition partners would sit on the fence as a resolution to the issue is not what they are looking for at this moment. Some on the left believe the massive demonstrations and ever-more-frequent civil disruptions will help the left gain momentum and popularity come next elections, and if they play their protests right, that might come sooner rather than later.
There have been rumors that claim Likud lawmakers are working hard to get Gantz's party into the coalition to replace some of the hard-right elements within the government. To date, all parties have disavowed the speculation, although without issuing a firm denial of the validity of some or all of the claims.