Levin: Rule by judges is the opposite of democracy

Yariv Levin  credit: Knesset spokesperson
Yariv Levin credit: Knesset spokesperson

Responding to Supreme Court President Esther Hayut's criticism of his judicial reforms, Justice Minister Yariv Levin accused her of trying to set the streets on fire.

Minister of Justice Yariv Levin responded this evening to the speech by President of the Supreme Court Esther Hayut at the conference of the Israeli Association of Public Law, in which she said that his plan for reform of the legal system was actually "a plan for dismembering the legal system".

"Something happened this evening. It turns out that there is another political party in Israel. A party that did not compete in the election that took place only two months ago. A party that has put itself above the Knesset, above the decision of the people. This evening, we heard rhetoric familiar from black flag demonstrations. It’s the same political agenda, the same call to set the streets on fire," Levin said.

"We didn’t hear national responsibility, we didn’t hear neutrality. We didn’t hear a balanced legal stance. We heard statements of politicians who incite demonstrations. The automatic seconding by her honor the President of the Supreme Court, in the very same language, of the statements of Yair and Yair, Yair Lapid and Yair Golan, is the best proof of the fact that the judicial system has lost its way and of the need to put it back where it was in the days of the legal giants Landau and Agranat," he added.

"There is no properly constituted Western democracy in which judges select themselves and intervene in basic laws as they see fit. In no other democratic country are there legal counsel who are above the government and decide in its stead. As her honor President Hayut said, democracy is not just the rule of the majority. This important principle and the duty to protect minority rights indeed lie at the basis of the reform I presented," Levin continued.

He added that his reform included authority of the Supreme Court to strike down legislation with a special majority, and gave the judges suitable representation on the committee to select judges. "But democracy is not oppression by a minority that forces its values on the majority through its control of the judicial system. Rule by judges is the opposite of proper democracy. The reform I presented will return Israel to being a proper Western democracy like all the other countries. It will ensure a diverse judicial system that reflects the whole people. A judicial system that enjoys the confidence of the public and does not descend to the political playing field.

"I am committed to conducting comprehensive dialogue and discourse with representatives of all parts of the nation in order to reach the most balanced and best result," Levin concluded.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 12, 2023.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2023.

Yariv Levin  credit: Knesset spokesperson
Yariv Levin credit: Knesset spokesperson
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