The Supreme Court should have no say in a possible Israeli strike on Iran, former justice minister Daniel Friedmann said on Tuesday at a Tel Aviv conference addressing the idea of bypassing court rulings through legislation.
There is no such thing as a law meant to circumvent the High Court of Justice, because the court’s power and actions are based on legislation, Friedmann said.
Friedmann was responding to calls by Israeli intellectuals, including authers Yoram Kaniuk and Amos Oz, two weeks ago, in which they threatened to petition the High Court of Justice if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to strike Iran as a military act — and not a war — without the government’s approval.
It is possible that “the court realized that its intervention in all fields, and its verdicts in areas it shouldn’t deal with, are weakening its stance,” the former justice minister said.
Friedmann said that former Supreme Court president Aharon Barak’s doctrine, according to which the court had a say in all matters, would allow people to petition against the government attacking Iran. He added that the position was not one he endorsed. “I think this matter was not one for courts,” he told the audience.
The former justice minister also spoke out against “the parallel trial” of former prime minister Ehud Olmert. Alongside the formal trial there was one happening in the media, Friedmann said, which he called “an improper thing that should be avoided.”
Speaking at another panel at the conference, MK Ahmad Tibi (Ta’al) said the country should have two Arabs appointed to the Supreme Court.
Tibi said he was the only MK on the panel who was born in Israel, and called for a better representation of the country’s Arab minority in the Supreme Court.
“The terms ‘native’ or ‘native born’ have a legal meaning. Who if not you should know?” Tibi asked Friedmann.
MK Zeev Elkin, who was present and on the panel, “wasn’t born here and he has more rights [than I],” Tibi said.
“I can’t understand why the presence of one Arab justice in the Supreme Court is a reason to celebrate,” Tibi said, and called for the state to appoint more non-Jewish minorities to the highest judicial post in Israel.