Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday he is determined to proceed with "responsible judicial reforms" amid unprecedented nationwide protests against the government's overhaul plan.
On Monday, the Knesset will pass a bill that will give the coalition a majority in the committee to select judges, a move that will in the eyes of his opponents in the parliament and in many in the Israeli public, constitute an assault on the courts by the political branches.
Earlier Defense Minister Yoav Galant had planned to make a public statement calling for the legislation to halt because it was creating an immediate threat to the IDF and Israel's security, but after a meeting with the prime minister, Galant reversed his plan. The prime minister said he heard the concerns of his minister and took them into account.
Netanyahu said in a televised address that opponents of the legislation were not traitors, as some of his ministers and members of his party had said.
"Opponents are not traitors and proponents are not Fascists," he said. "Those who support our reform, have for decades felt that the Supreme Court did not represent them or their views, and those who oppose it, fear that it would end democracy. A democratic government must address both sides of the issue. It must display the will of the majority of voters and also protect individual rights," he said. "In order to prevent a rift in our population, the concerns of each side must be heard
Netanyahu repeated his claims that the Supreme Court justices prevented diversity in the selection of judges and interfered in government policies with no authority but he did indicate he would seek a majority of over 61 or the 120 Knesset seats to legislate laws the supreme court deemed unconstitutional.
Protest organizers and opposition leaders criticized the prime minister for forging on with what they say were destructive policies.
"Instead of halting the legislation, Netanyahu continued to spread his lies about the judicial system, which have no bearing on reality," Opposition leader Yair Lapid said "He proved he had no intention to have a real discussion. I call on responsible members of his party, the Likud, do not allow the law granting the coalition majority power to select judges, pass," he said.