As judicial reform talks restarted at the President’s Residence this week, Likud Party officials said that progress in negotiations won’t be possible as long as the Yesh Atid Party continues to participate.
The Yesh Atid led by Yair Lapid is attempting to torpedo the talks, they said, and chances of success would improve if discussions were held only with the National Unity Party led by Benny Gantz.
Likud officials cite the demand of Yesh Atid to include the issue of IDF recruitment of haredim in the talks as one example of how the latter party is working to prevent a meeting of the minds. They also claimed there are gaps in the positions between National Unity and Yesh Atid.
Yesh Atid officials denied there was any daylight between themselves and National Unity, saying that the parties see eye-to-eye and coordinate closely.
They said Likud is trying to spark an argument between opposition elements but that the opposition is in full agreement on the main issue—preventing the coalition from choosing two judges to serve on the Judicial Selection Committee.
The coalition’s position was strengthened by a mass rally that took place in favor of judicial reform on Thursday.
Supporters of reform were slow to respond to months of protests against it, which had forced the coalition back on its heels, leading Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to pause the process and enter into negotiations with the opposition under the auspices of President Isaac Herzog.
Those favoring reform worry that the result will be a watered-down version of the legislation. Among the crowd’s chants at the rally were “Stop being afraid” and “We don’t want compromise.”
Herzog expressed optimism last week regarding the negotiations, saying they are being held amid a “positive atmosphere.”
“There’s goodwill and there’s a positive attitude in the room, and things are discussed frankly and honestly,” Herzog told Arutz Sheva in an interview, adding that “all the hard issues [were] on the table” and the sides were attempting to reach an “amicable solution.”