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Israeli president says situation ‘very serious’ amid judicial overhaul debate

Israeli President Isaac Herzog has described the situation in the country as “very serious” amid the debate on the government’s move seeking judiciary overhaul.

“We are in a serious and very serious situation that may have political, economic, social and security consequences,” Herzog said in a late Monday ceremony in Tel Aviv, according to The Times of Israel newspaper.

The president noted that he devoted all his time and energy to find an understanding that would save the country from the constitutional and social crisis.

Herzog confirmed that he is meeting with all parties to the crisis from the government coalition and the opposition.

“This is not a political compromise, this is a Sisyphean effort to find a correct formula of balance and hope. Because the situation is very difficult and worrying,” he warned.

The president’s efforts for mediation between the government coalition and the opposition have not yet yielded significant progress.

Speaking in the same ceremony, Esther Hayut, the head of the Supreme Court, expressed her concern over the government’s move which she said would undermine “Israeli unity.”

Proposed by Justice Minister Yariv Levin, the reform plan, if enacted, would be the most radical change ever in the system of government in Israel.

The plan has triggered mass protests across Israel for more than 10 weeks.

The change would severely limit the power of the Supreme Court of Justice, give the government the power to choose judges and end the appointment of legal advisers to ministries by the attorney general.

Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, has insisted his plan would enhance democracy.

*Writing by Mahmoud Barakat

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