A Ryanair passenger aircraft takes off while a demonstrator waves an Israeli flag during a protest against the controversial judicial reform bill, outside the terminal of Israel's Ben Gurion airport Mar 15, 2023. (PHOTO / AFP)
JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected on Wednesday a mediating proposal suggested by President Issac Herzog, saying his government will continue to push through the controversial and divisive judicial reform.
Herzog put forward his proposal on Wednesday night after weeks of talks with ministers from the coalition government, opposition lawmakers, and legal experts.
The overhaul, pushed ahead by Netanyahu's new governing coalition, would give him and his coalition allies the power to override Supreme Court decisions and to decide all judicial appointments
Warning that Israel is "on the verge of civil war," Herzog said his plan suggests a compromise that reflects the stance of wide sections of Israeli society.
READ MORE: Israel's parliament advances contested law for judicial reform
"We are at a crossroads: a historical crisis or a defining constitutional moment," he warned.
About an hour later, Netanyahu rejected the proposal in a statement at the airport before embarking on a trip to Berlin.
He said the president's outline is not agreed upon by his coalition. "Key sections of the outline he presented only perpetuate the existing situation and do not bring the required balance to the Israeli authorities," he said.
The overhaul, pushed ahead by Netanyahu's new governing coalition, would give him and his coalition allies the power to override Supreme Court decisions and to decide all judicial appointments.
According to Netanyahu, the overhaul is needed to curb the "overly activist" Supreme Court.
READ MORE: Protests continue across Israel against judicial reform
However, the plan sparked a huge uproar and some of the largest rallies seen in the country in the past decades. Legal experts, business leaders, and senior security officials have warned that it will ruin the separation of power mechanism in the government. They also argue that Netanyahu, on trial over graft charges, has a conflict of interest.