Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid sharply attacked the incoming government’s planned judicial reforms on Monday, claiming that Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu’s motivations are entirely personal.

During a speech at the 2022 Annual Conference on National Security and Democracy in Jerusalem, Lapid said, “Why do they want to pass an override clause? Why do they want to appoint judges themselves? Why do they want to change the Basic Laws? Why now?”

Singling out Netanyahu, who faces three corruption cases, and Shas Party leader Aryeh Deri, recently fined for tax offenses, Lapid said, “For personal reasons, completely personal, they are dragging the country into a dangerous, anti-democratic tailspin that harms the economy, harms security and will lead to international sanctions.”

For 15 years as prime minister Netanyahu didn’t think an override clause was necessary, he said, referring to a proposed law that would give legislators the power to reverse, or “override,” the Supreme Court when it strikes down laws as “unconstitutional.”

“He did not think that politicians should appoint judges. It did not enter his mind to separate the position of the attorney general from that of chief prosecutor,” said Lapid. “But now he knows that if they don’t pass these laws, the bottom line is he’ll become the second prime minister in the country’s history to go to prison. There’s nothing he won’t do to prevent this,” he continued.

“This is not legal reform, this is not ideology, this is criminality taking advantage of an opportunity,” he concluded.

JNS

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