Netanyahu says override clause of judicial reform is 'out'

Prime minister tells Wall Street Journal that plans for the judicial overhaul will continue despite alteration in its original draft, and discusses Iran and the relationship with the U.S.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday in a comprehensive interview with the U.S.-based newspaper Wall Street Journal that the override clause will no longer be part of the judicial overhaul, but emphasizes that he will still promote the legislation. "It's out," Netanyahu said.
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In the interview, Netanyahu said that the coalition and opposition were unable to reach agreements in dialogue at the President's residence, and therefore he will continue to advance his plan himself.
4 View gallery
ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו בריאיון לוול סטריט ג'ורנל על המהפכה המשפטית
ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו בריאיון לוול סטריט ג'ורנל על המהפכה המשפטית
Wall Street Journal interviewer, Benjamin Netanyahu
(Photo: Wall Street Journal)
Netanyahu also acknowledged that the original plan to change the composition of the judge selection committee has been abandoned, but added that he still doesn’t know what a new proposal of the plan will look like.
"It’s not going to be the current structure, but it’s not going to be the original structure,” he said, against the background of Yesh Atid lawmaker Karine Elharrar being chosen as the opposition's representative in the judge selection committee and the victory of Amit Bachar in the elections for the Israel Bar Association, who opposes the overhaul.
"I’m attentive to the public pulse," Netanyahu said in the interview. According to him, the new version of his judicial overhaul will be one that’ll "stick for a generation."
In the interview, Netanyahu dismissed calls from lawmakers in Washington and senior Ukrainian officials that Israel should provide further assistance to Ukraine. “We have concerns that I don’t think any of the Western allies of Ukraine have,” he said.
Netanyahu said that Israel must keep its freedom of operation in Syria and expressed concerns that Israeli weapons remaining on the Ukrainian battlefield would end up in Iran, which has developed a close relationship with Russia in recent months.
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כטב"מ כטב"ם מל"ט של איראן ב תרגיל שנפתח ב-24 באוגוסט
כטב"מ כטב"ם מל"ט של איראן ב תרגיל שנפתח ב-24 באוגוסט
'It's a very disturbing relationship'
(Photo: EPA, AP)
Therefore, Netanyahu said that Israel won’t allow the U.S. to transfer Iron Dome systems to Ukraine. “If that system were to fall into the hands of Iran, then millions of Israelis would be left defenseless and imperiled,” he insisted.
Regarding the connection between Iran and Russia, he said, “It’s a very disturbing relationship, we’ve made our concerns known to the Russians.” Netanyahu refused to disclose how Moscow responded.
In the interview, Netanyahu stated that Israel's ties with the United States remain strong, even though President Joe Biden has not yet invited him to the White House. “I think it may take some time, but I think, of course, I should expect to meet President Biden,” Netanyahu said.
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ביבי בנימין נתניהו ארכיון
ביבי בנימין נתניהו ארכיון
Benjamin Netanyahu, Joe Biden
(Photo: Reuters)
He made it clear in the interview that he opposes calls within his government to dismantle the Palestinian Authority and expressed his support for efforts to strengthen it. “My policy has been to definitely keep the Palestinian Authority. I don’t want it to dissolve it the way people are talking. It’s simply ridiculous,” he said.
During his speech at an IDF officers’ graduation ceremony on Wednesday, Netanyahu didn’t address settler violence, in contrast to Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi.
However, in the interview with the Wall Street Journal, he acknowledged that the recent actions in Palestinian villages were “misguided, unacceptable and criminal.”
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תיעוד מעימותים בין מתנחלים לפלסטינים סמוך לכפר אום צפא
תיעוד מעימותים בין מתנחלים לפלסטינים סמוך לכפר אום צפא
Palestinians confronting Israeli settlers in the West Bank
When asked if he agrees with Israeli security officials who define these attacks as "nationalist terrorism," Netanyahu said, “You can call it nationalistic terrorism. It’s fine, but it doesn’t solve the problem.”
“I will not tolerate any of this vigilantism. The ones who have the monopoly on the use of violence are the military and our security forces, not any individual,” he added.
Netanyahu will hold a discussion on Thursday concerning restrictions in public spaces following what senior government officials have defined as "attacks and harassment against politicians,” by judicial overhaul protesters.
Israel’s Aattorney general, Gali Baharav-Miara, has also been invited to the discussion, which will take place following ongoing protests outside of Justice Minister Yariv Levin’s home.
“We have no issues with protests, we’re concerned about rioting and assault against politicians,” government officials said.
First published: 10:36, 06.29.23
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