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Israel’s president optimistic on reform compromise

Herzog called the debate over the legal initiative a "source of pride."

President Isaac Herzog speaks at the Herzliya Conference on May 22, 2023. Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90.
President Isaac Herzog speaks at the Herzliya Conference on May 22, 2023. Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90.

President Isaac Herzog on Monday expressed confidence that a meeting of the minds on Israeli judicial reform can be reached in the coming months.

“This process takes time, no one drags their feet and no one wastes time. Unlike all kinds of spin, these discussions are very serious and very in-depth. People give of themselves and come to the room with goodwill,” Herzog said at the opening of the 2023 Herzliya Conference at Reichman University.

The president has been brokering talks between the government coalition and the opposition at his official residence in Jerusalem on the legal initiative that has divided the country. Tens of thousands of Israelis have taken to the streets to demonstrate both for and against the program.

Herzog called the ongoing demonstrations a “source of pride” that demonstrates a “fierce democratic discourse” in Israel.

His office confirmed on Sunday that direct negotiations would not take place this week, as requested by the two sides due to a busy legislative agenda that includes discussions and voting on the Knesset floor for the 2023-2024 state budget.

According to the statement, Herzog will participate in talks with individual representatives throughout the week, with larger meetings set to resume next week.

“I’m not naive. I’m optimistic because the alternative is much more serious, much more dangerous. If we reach understandings we can understand how much it will strengthen this country. How much it will enable it to reach another 75 years [of statehood] in a stable manner that will enable proper social development,” Herzog said.

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