Justice Minister Yariv Levin at a rally in support of the government’s planned judicial overhaul, outside the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem,
on April 27, 2023. (Flash90/Arie Leib Abrams)
While dining at the home of a prominent ultra-Orthodox political strategist, Levin was secretly recorded by a guest at the residence saying that those pushing for the reform are facing an incredible challenge, as activists opposed to the overhaul have immense resources at their disposal.
“There is no doubt that we are at a truly unimaginable disadvantage. The fact is that [the anti-reform movement] is in control of the courts, the attorney general, all the heads of the economic system,” Levin said in the video, which was published by Walla.
“The American government is working in cooperation with them on this matter [of stopping the overhaul legislation],” he added. “We can see that based on repeated public statements from [American] government representatives.”
President Joe Biden has criticized the potential changes to Israel’s legal system, insinuating that he would not invite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House until the matter is dropped.
Biden’s comments on internal Israeli politics sparked backlash from lawmakers as diverse as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Public Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir.
Multiple reports have found that the Biden administration is funneling money towards advocacy groups that are organizing the anti-judicial reform protests, a revelation that has triggered concern from some American lawmakers.
“On top of that, add that [the left is] in control of [major Israeli news outlets] Israel Hayom, Yediot Ahronot, Haaretz, Ynet, Walla, whatever you can think of,” Levin continued.
Without naming specific lawmakers, Levin said one of the reasons for the reform’s lack of progress was discord within the Likud party. He also stressed that it is critical for the legislation to “not take too much time” to come to fruition.
“The situation can’t remain the way it is,” he said.