(JNS) — Opposition and coalition figures alike denied a Monday report in Haaretz that they are close to an agreement in the talks on judicial reform being conducted at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.

The report said a “package deal” being worked on involved several issues, including a compromise whereby the government would back down from its plan to rework the Judicial Selection Committee in return for the opposition agreeing to allow the government to seek private legal counsel without the permission of the attorney general.

Opposition party Yesh Atid, coalition sources and the President’s Office denied any such deal is in the offing.

Lawmaker Simcha Rothman of the Religious Zionism Party, a key figure orchestrating the coalition’s judicial reform effort as chairman of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, said he thinks the talks, which have been going on for close to two months, are going to blow up.

“I hope I’m wrong and will find out that the halt [in the judicial reform process], which we opposed at the time, has led the opposition to take positions and think about the good of Israel and not only about how to burn the country down because they lost the election,” he told Arutz 7 on Monday.

“I really hope that I’m wrong, but right now it seems to be going in the direction I thought,” Rothman said.

However, President Isaac Herzog denied that the negotiations were stuck, during a speech on Monday at Reichman University in Herzliya.

“This process takes time. No one’s dragging their feet and no one’s wasting time. Unlike all kinds of spin, these discussions are very serious and very in-depth. People give of themselves and come to the room with goodwill,” Herzog said.

photo of President Isaac Herzog leading negotiations on judicial reform

Courtesy of JNS. Photo credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO
President Isaac Herzog (center) leads negotiations on judicial reform at his official residence in Jerusalem, March 28, 2023