Protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government’s overhaul plan entered their tenth week on Sunday.
“The reform is just an excuse,” Netanyahu said, urging opposition politicians to hold discussions with the coalition about the plan, which critics say will weaken the country’s democracy.
“The fact that the opposition has not responded to our repeated calls for talks for two months shows that what the opposition is interested in is not reform, but the creation of anarchy and the overthrow of the elected government.”
“I hope there will be sincere, honest, patriotic people who care about the country and are willing to talk,” said Netanyahu.
But he clarified that the government had been given a mandate by the people, and it intended to carry it out.
Opposition leader MK Yair Lapid said the offer for talks was not genuine, and he attacked Netanyahu, saying “lying is like breathing” for him.
If Netanyahu “offered negotiations, why do [Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee chairman Simcha] Rothman and [Justice Minister Yariv] Levin continue to race with the legislation towards a coup d’état?” Lapid questioned.
‘There is no such thing as conditional Zionism.’
In his opening remarks to the weekly meeting of the government, Netanyahu lambasted all demonstrators, claiming that those who oppose judicial reform had brought the discussion to “absurd levels.”
According to Netanyahu, it is impossible to support “Israel’s economy” while encouraging foreign investment to leave the country.
“You cannot support the rule of law while encouraging legal violations.
“You cannot support national security while encouraging support for the state’s security to remain intact. You can’t just say, “I’m for the state,” and then threaten to leave if you don’t agree with me,” he added.
“Conditional Zionism does not exist.”
According to Netanyahu, the army, the government’s policies, and the security services are all under the control of the elected government in a democracy.
This notion is “anchored in common sense as well as the law,” he continued. According to Netanyahu, “nobody else should decide who will command these bodies, who will lead them, and how they will be led.
Netanyahu continued, “This is the foundation of every democracy and every transformed society, and if you destroy it, you undermine democracy itself.