Vice Prime Minister and Intelligence Services Minister Dan Meridor (Likud) on Thursday slammed some of his Likud colleagues for supporting a recent wave of legislation which critics say is aimed at curtailing human rights in Israel.
In a letter written to the MKs, Meridor stressed that the Likud is a national, liberal party, and warned against those in the party who are promoting aggressive nationalism.
"There are those who want to turn the Likud into something else, into a national movement without liberalism, a movement that glorifies the needs of the state and society, while diminishing human rights – both for Jews and Arabs – such as their right to full equality, or as stated in the Declaration of Independence, the 'complete equality of social and political rights,'" Meridor said.
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He added, "Times have changed and so have political solutions ... It is wrong to sanctify political solutions just because leaders once believed in them. The chairman of the Likud party today, Benjamin Netanyahu, has publicly committed to a political solution that includes a demilitarized Palestinian state alongside Israel ... People [in the Likud] are no longer demanding that land east of the Jordan river be included in our country. The situation has changed a great deal. There are different problems, challenges and solutions, but the basic principles and underlying values have stayed the same."
Meridor's comments come just a few weeks after the Knesset passed what was dubbed the "Grunis Law," which rescinds the stipulation that a Supreme Court President may only be appointed if he or she has at least three years remaining before retirement. Opponents claim the law is unconstitutional.
The Grunis Law was one of several controversial pieces of legislation that have recently been deliberated in the Knesset. Among the pending proposals is a bill designed to toughen Israel's libel law, which would allow the courts to impose a hefty fine without requiring proof of damages (which was cosponsored by Likud MK Yariv Levin), and a bill aimed at restricting the activity and funding of nongovernmental organizations (cosponsored by Likud MK Ofir Akunis).
Government detractors, including members of the coalition and Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud), have described the coalition's action as an unconstitutional legislative overreach that would compromise the independence of the courts and strike a significant blow to Israel's image as a pluralistic democracy.
Last month, Likud MK Danny Danon reintroduced legislation that would allow for the expulsion of any lawmaker suspected of taking part in anti-Israel campaigns or supporting such causes.
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