National Security Council chairman Tzachi Hanegbi sat with anti-judicial overhaul protesters who were demonstrating outside of his home on Tuesday evening, calling on him to publicly declare that he will obey High Court of Justice rulings.
Senior officials across the government and the security establishment have been pressed to make the pledge amid the ongoing refusal to do so from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other members of his hardline coalition.
Anti-judicial overhaul activists warn that this reticence is paving the way for a constitutional crisis in the event that the High Court strikes down the first piece of overhaul legislation, which it began adjudicating last month. When pressed on whether he will abide by the court if it strikes down overhaul legislation, Netanyahu has responded that the court should abide by the Basic Laws passed by the Knesset, which to date have never been struck down.
The Tuesday night protest in the Jerusalem suburb of Mevaseret Zion was made up largely of former defense officials, including senior members of the National Security Council, which Hanegbi now leads.
While protests outside the homes of lawmakers have become the norm over the past year, the decision to target Hanegbi, who is no longer a politician, appeared relatively rare — as was his willingness to sit with those demonstrating against him.
Among the protesters was former National Security Council chair Uzi Arad, who urged Hanegbi to follow the leads of the Shin Bet and IDF chiefs who recently publicly committed to abide by High Court rulings.
ראש המל"ל לשעבר, פרופ׳ עוזי ארד, במחאה מול ביתו של צחי הנגבי, כשהוא בקהל: "הנזק כבר נגרם ואם רה"מ חושב שכשהוא שינה את חוק הנבצרות הוא פתר את העניין, כרגע יש עדות של בכירים שעבדו תחתיו במערכת הביטחון שהאיש מסוכן לביטחון המדינה"@ItayBlumental @HGoldich pic.twitter.com/P2qw27ElLq
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) October 3, 2023
“It would be very strange if… the head of the National Security Council, which is supposed to be the body that unites the security forces, comes and says, ‘I do not [abide by the High Court],” Arad said.
Hanegbi was given an opportunity to address the demonstrators but avoided heeding their call, explaining that his job barred him from involvement in political matters.
He was repeatedly shouted down after taking the microphone and eventually, he gave up, saying, “I thank you for inviting me, but you did not allow me to speak. Learn to listen.”
He then made his way back toward his house, as the demonstrators continued to heckle him.
Hanegbi made headlines last month when he admitted that demonstrations against the coalition’s contentious judicial overhaul plans were key in halting the package of radical legislative changes that was initially proposed.
A promotional clip for the Channel 12 interview made it appear that Hanegbi was pleased that the rallies prevented activists’ fears of a “dictatorship” from being realized — comments that he later called “distorted.”