Israel’s prime minister spoke to ABC Information on “Good Morning America.”
LONDON — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated Thursday that his plan to overtake his nation’s judicial system is “a minor correction” to an “activist” courtroom.
“It is described as the top of Israeli democracy — I feel that is foolish and when the mud settles, all people will see it,” Netanyahu instructed ABC Information’ George Stephanopoulos in an interview on “Good Morning America.”
On Monday, Israeli lawmakers approved the first major piece of legislation in Netanyahu’s broader plan to reform the country’s judiciary, sparking mass protests in the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The new law removes the court system’s ability to strike down “unreasonable” decisions by the government. Critics of Netanyahu’s plan say it pushes Israel away from democratic ideals and toward authoritarian rule, while supporters say it claws back some power from unelected judges.
Netanyahu told ABC News that his government is trying to “bring back Israeli democracy in line with what is common to all democracies.”
“The essence of democracy is the balance between the will of the majority and the rights of the minority, and that’s achieved by the balance between the three branches of government,” the Israeli prime minister said during Thursday’s interview. “That’s been taken off the rails in Israel in the last 20 years because we have the most activist judicial court on the planet and it’s arrogated to itself powers from the government — from the executive and the legislative branches.”
“I want to bring the pendulum to the middle, I don’t want to bring the pendulum to the other side,” he continued. “But we have to correct it and that’s what we just did. It’s a minor correction.”
The proposed overhaul has stirred concern among Israel’s closest allies, with the United States calling Monday’s enactment of the law “unfortunate” and the European Union saying it was “following the developments in Israel closely and with concern.”
But Netanyahu told ABC News on Thursday that he thinks the relationship between Israel and the U.S. is “as strong as it’s ever been.” He also noted that he followed the Biden administration’s advice to proceed with the reform slowly.
“This has been as sluggish as you possibly can go,” he added. “I truly pressed the pause button for 3 months as a result of I did take severely the considerations. I do not assume the arguments are actual however I feel the priority is actual individuals are afraid, I perceive that.”
“So I pressed the pause button for 3 months, tried to get some form of compromise on something and could not get something from the opposition and, due to this fact, determined to proceed with this minor correction,” he continued. “As I stated to President Biden, I am going to attempt to proceed if not with a consensus with the opposition — the opposite aspect of the political aisle in our parliament — then at the least on one thing that has broad acceptance within the public.”
The Israeli chief stated he thinks “it is potential” to seek out “center floor.”
“I am truly extra optimistic now than I used to be earlier than,” he instructed ABC Information. “I hope the opposition leaders present duty and are available to the center. There’s a center on the market.”
When requested about criticism that the reform was designed partly for Netanyahu to guard himself towards the corruption fees he is going through, the Israeli prime minister referred to as it “ridiculous” and stated “it has nothing to do with my trial as a result of it has been continuing for 3 years.”
“That is one thing that considerations tens of millions of Israelis who, for the final 20 years, really feel that they’ll the polls, they’re voting in a authorities, they’re voting for insurance policies which might be then nullified by a judiciary that principally arrogated itself the powers of the bulk,” he stated. “And that I do not assume is true for democracy. That is what’s driving this reform, not my particular person case which is continuing nice.”
Netanyahu presided over the vote on the controversial invoice within the Knesset on Monday simply hours after being launched from the hospital the place he had a pacemaker implanted. He instructed ABC Information on Thursday that he was feeling “terrific.”
“Man of metal,” he stated, laughing. “Or plastic, I feel that is what they put in there.”
ABC Information’ Kevin Shalvey contributed to this report.
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