President Isaac Herzog has been under fire by opposition activists upset by his failure to “take a side” in the raging national debate over judicial reform.
In a series of pre-Memorial Day interviews with Israeli media, he probably further angered the detractors.
Herzog called the ongoing demonstrations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s judicial reform “the most serious internal crisis in the country’s history,” but said he has hope the situation can and will be resolved.
He praised both sides for entering into negotiations brokered by the president, but even those talks are being maligned by protest leaders.
At the demonstrations judicial reform is being called a threat to democracy by those who insist the current set of checks and balances remain untouched. But Herzog said he agrees with the government that judicial reform is necessary, he just wants to see it done through dialogue, compromise and with broad consensus.
“Just a year or two ago we couldn’t even talk about this topic. Today it’s clear that there has to be some sort of reform with broad consensus,” Herzog told Walla News.
But as we discussed in another article, judicial reform is just part of a bigger picture. To many of the demonstrators, it’s just the latest manifestation of Israel’s slide into authoritarianism under Netanyahu.
And in this regard, Herzog probably put even more distance between himself and the protesting masses when he not only refused to besmirch Netanyahu, but said he deserves respect.
“I have great appreciation for Netanyahu. I think that he is a brilliant man who has done great things as prime minister,” Herzog said in remarks to Channel 13 News.
“I don’t want to talk about the current period, because whatever I say will be construed as political,” he added. Though in the current polarized atmosphere, all we can say is good luck with that…
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