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Edelstein Questions Judicial Overhaul Push Hours before Knesset Vote

Mar 14, 2023

Yuli Edelstein, an MK of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, did not show up for the Knesset vote on a legislation that would prevent the High Court of Justice from suspending a prime minister from office.

Hours before the said vote, he also criticized the coalition because of their relentless push to overhaul the judiciary radically, as there seems to be discord in the Likud party over how the process is being handled and its fallout.

The questions

On Monday, there was a faction meeting that saw a number of Likud MKs including Edelstein, question how the overhaul legislation is being handled.

However, it should be noted that neither Edelstein nor any other party member were directly opposed to the overhaul.

The coalition is quickly moving to approve legislation that would enable the government to override the decisions of the court, severely limit the powers of the High Court and give politicians the power to select judges.

There has been fierce opposition of the bills all across Israel, which has resulted in massive protests as well as serious warnings from security officials, legal professionals, economists and academics.

The meeting

During the meeting of the Likud party on Monday that was led by the premier, Edelstein criticized the coalition for saying that they would not freeze the legislation push even for a minute.

This is how the coalition has responded to the protests against the judicial overhaul that have been growing in the last few weeks.

He stated that this kind of dismissive response was only adding support to the other side and giving them an excuse to not begin dialogue.

The opposition and the government is at a stalemate, as the former has demanded that the legislative push be paused for negotiations, while the latter has refused to do so.

Edelstein also asserted that it was overhaul opponents had been dismissed easily by claiming that they are all on the left.

The issues

Edelstein also asked other Likud members if there was any guarantee that the direction they are moving in would be the reform for years.

This was an apparent suggestion that since the bills would be passed without any negotiations, they could possibly be overturned.

Edelstein is a veteran member of the Likud party, but he has been mostly sidelined by Netanyahu after he challenged his party leadership.

Reports indicated that he had also asked that the Likud party have its own debate before the final readings of the legislation.

A Netanyahu loyalist, Miri Regev, the Transportation Minister, said that the coalition should continue forward with the reforms without blinking, even though there is widespread opposition.

President Isaac Herzog has also been urging for a compromise. Other members of the Likud party also shared concerns about the conduct of the party.

There were also calls of restraining Itamar Ben Gvir, the National Security Minister, who is overseeing the police. His clashes with the police and attorney general have been making headlines in the last week.

A number of lawmakers of the Likud party appeared to be dissatisfied with how the judicial overhaul is being publicly handled.

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