03/10/2023, 14.28
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Justice: Herzog attacks (again) a 'nightmare' reform, also for the economy

Harsh intervention by the president against a law he calls oppressive, harmful and to be shelved. A shared text is needed, which is being worked towards from behind the scenes. Ben Gvir dismisses Tel Aviv police chief too soft on protesters. Netanyahu in Rome applauds head of state's words. The flight of tech companies worried about the country's stability.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - Oppressive, detrimental to democracy, to be shelved immediately in order to open a real round table to create a framework law that is the result of mediation, based on the consensus of all parties

In a speech even harsher than the previous one, in both form and content, late yesterday evening Israeli President Isaac Herzog returned to comment on the controversial justice reform promoted by Benjamin Netanyahu's government and already under scrutiny by the Knesset and parliamentary commissions.

The project that has triggered a "nightmarish" crisis, warns the head of state, which risks undermining the very foundations on which the country is based, but the talks taking place behind the scenes for a shared text give hope. 

In a speech to the nation with strong, and serious, overtones, Herzog emphasised that the reform drawn up by the executive with the aim of weakening the judiciary is a 'disaster' and a 'nightmare'.

He then recalled that it is the duty of those who lead the nation to prevent the country from being dragged into a social and constitutional abyss by directly attacking - and for the first time - a clearly defined political faction. The president then spoke of "discussions" underway with both sides, in order to find an agreement on the issues that are a source of controversy and division, drafting a final text to be submitted to the Knesset for approval to replace the current one. 

Herzog's intervention is linked to the government's accelerated pace of approval of the controversial reform. Next week, in fact, the coalition intends to implement a first part of the reform text, heedless of the street protests - where people of different ideologies and political faiths are united - that continue and against which the Minister for National Security Itamar Ben Gvir is calling for an iron fist.

He has even gone so far as to replace the Tel Aviv police chief Amichai Eshed, guilty of having so far taken too soft a line towards the demonstrators, who yesterday interrupted the road to the airport for a couple of hours, even postponing the premier's departure to Italy.

Herzog also did not fail to remind the opposition of its institutional duties, putting the country above partisan interests. The aim of this mediation, he warned, is to prevent Israel "from falling off the precipice" on which it finds itself.

Among the first comments to the head of state's words was that of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on an official visit to Rome, who said he welcomed "all initiatives" that could lead to a final agreement on common ground. "We must remember," said the PM, "that, especially in these days of discussion and debate, within Israel, we must remember that we are one nation with a common future. We are all brothers and sisters'.

In addition to the political and legal element, the judicial reform could also cause heavy repercussions on the economic level that go far beyond the protests. Proof of this is the growing alarm among entrepreneurs and investors, especially in the technology and IT sector, who foresee gloomy clouds and winds of crisis on the horizon.

One 32-year-old entrepreneur in the cyber-security sector, questioned by the Times of Israel on condition of anonymity, said he regretted starting a company in Israel in recent months and is now thinking of returning to the United States.

The political and institutional climate is too uncertain, he warned, to "attract investors from abroad". The case is not an isolated one and there is a strong risk, experts warn, of a decades-long regression of the country's technology industry.

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