Those of us who defend Israel as a modern Western state ruled by law, like to point out, for an example, that its parliament and military always adheres to the dictates of its Supreme Court decisions, even those that run counter to its already approved policies.
One of issues left unmentioned however concerns the fact that the Israeli Supreme Court has become a power unto itself, unanswerable to anyone, they choose their own members not the elected heads of state. The situation as it now stands, is great for the Left, largely because its their policies being protected and promoted.
The problem here as I see it, is that it holds the Israeli people captive to the narrow views of a self generating unanswerable political entity. I would be against any supreme court with such over reaching powers, who are free (in worst case scenarios) to render decisions based on a political perspectives, not on laws already on the books or passed by house of parliament that reflect the will of the people.
Caroline Glick’s article is interesting in that she shows the length at which the ISC can appoint its members and thwart the will of the people. It surpasses anything that the US Supreme Court can do, and it appears that the current gov’t simply wants to reign it in, to a limited degree that is, and it’s being lambasted as “ending democracy in Israel”.
The Israeli Left and their echo chamber in the international mass media are using this as a chance to label the Netanyahu gov’t as cadre of “hard Right extremists”, when in fact that they are only asking for a more level playing field between the different branches of government.
All things considered, this is just a normal debate between centers of power in a thriving democracy, which in the end, is for the Israeli people to figure out for themselves. It shall be interesting to see how this all plays out, I just thought you would like to read a perspective not being heard elsewhere. KGS
Beinisch claimed that the attempts by Israel’s elected leaders to curb judicial power places the country on a slippery slope whose ultimate end is to destroy the values that underpin Israeli democracy. After she stepped down from the podium, her associates briefed journalists without attribution that Beinisch believes that the bills being debated are comparable to Nazi legislation barring Jews from the public square.
Since Beinisch’s professional godfather, retired Supreme Court president Aharon Barak, enacted his “judicial revolution” in the 1990s, Israel’s judicial system has been without parallel in the Western world. Under Israel’s judicial selection system, judges effectively appoint themselves. And since Barak’s presidency of the Supreme Court, justices have used this power to ensure ideological uniformity among their ranks. Jurists opposed to judicial activism have been largely blocked from serving on the High Court, as have jurists with non-leftist politics.
Not only do Israel’s judges appoint themselves, they have empowered themselves to cancel laws of the Knesset.
Under Barak’s dictatorial assertion that “everything is justiciable,” the Court has given standing to parties that have no direct – and often no indirect – connections to the subjects of their petitions. In so doing, the Court has managed to place itself above the government and the Knesset.
In recent years, the Court has canceled duly legislated laws of the Knesset and lawful policies of the government and the IDF. Its decisions have involved everything from denying Jews the right to build Jewish communities on Jewish land, to requiring the state to compensate Palestinians for damages they incur while fighting Israel, to changing the route of the security barrier, to barring radio broadcasts by the right-wing Arutz Sheva station.
The Knesset’s efforts to pass laws that would curb the Court’s now unlimited powers are simply attempts to place minimal legal checks on judicial power. One bill under discussion would require Supreme Court nominees to undergo hearings at the Knesset before their nominations are approved. Under the proposed law, the unelected Judicial Appointments Committee would remain responsible for nominating and approving justices. It’s just that the public, through its representatives in the Knesset, would have the opportunity to find out a bit about who these people are before their appointments are voted on.