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Healing Israel’s political deepening will take ‘a very long time,’ ex-official says

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Closing the deepening political divide in Israel is possible if both sides show flexibility, but the process will take an extremely long time, Dan Arbell, a former diplomat who worked in the Israeli foreign service for 25 years.

On Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir agreed that passing a controversial judicial reform should be delayed until the Knesset’s summer session amid mass protests in the country.

“Political and societal divides have widened and bridging them may be possible but will take a long time, if both sides show openness, seriousness and flexibility,” said Arbell, who notably served as chief of Israel’s Deputy Mission in Washington. , said.

However, Arbell said he expects Netanyahu’s suspension of the proposed overhaul plan to be temporary.

“Netanyahu has no real intention of abandoning his plan,” Arbell said.

The United States, he added, is encouraging the parties to reach a compromise, but Washington will not be directly involved in the dialogue.

In January, Israeli Justice Minister Yariv Levin launched a package of legal reforms that would limit the authority of the Supreme Court by giving the cabinet control over the selection of new justices, as well as allowing the Knesset to annul the decisions of the court by an absolute majority. .

Opponents of the reform say it will undermine democracy in Israel and put the country on the brink of a social and constitutional crisis.

Protests against the reform have been going on in Israel for 12 straight weeks, escalating late Sunday night after the prime minister sacked Defense Minister Yoav Gallant for his opposition to judicial reform.

Arbell is now a scholar-in-residence at the Center for Israel Studies at American University.

sputniknews Gt

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