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Netanyahu, upon passing budget: Judicial reform up next

National Unity Party head Benny Gantz called Netanyahu "drunk with power," and threatened to "shake the country" if the reforms move forward.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a meeting on the state budget vote in the Knesset, May 23, 2023. Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a meeting on the state budget vote in the Knesset, May 23, 2023. Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

Having successfully passed the 2023-2024 budget on Wednesday following a marathon Knesset session, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that judicial reform was next on the agenda.

Asked by a reporter whether the government’s judicial reform bills, which have been on the back burner in recent weeks, would now return to the fore following the passing of the budget, Netanyahu said, “of course.”

However, he noted, “we are trying to reach an understanding [with the opposition parties], and I hope we will succeed in this,” referring to negotiations that have been under way for close to two months under the auspices of Israeli President Isaac Herzog.

Benny Gantz, leader of the National Unity Party, tweeted in response, “I understand that Netanyahu is drunk on power again, after passing a budget that will explode in all of our faces.

“I remind Netanyahu that it is stupid to repeat the same action and expect different results. If the coup d’état [judicial reform] comes back to the table—we will shake the country and stop it,” he added.

In late March, Netanyahu halted the coalition’s march to reform due to ongoing nationwide protests orchestrated by opposition forces.

Negotiations have not yet led to an agreement, with opposition and coalition figures alike denying on Tuesday a Haaretz report that they are closing in on an interim deal.

Also on Tuesday, Knesset member Simcha Rothman of the Religious Zionism Party, a key figure guiding the coalition’s reform effort through the legislative process, expressed his opinion that the talks would not succeed.

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