Justice minister accuses court of ‘harming unity’ with timing of rulings

Sam Sokol is the Times of Israel's political correspondent. He was previously a reporter for the Jerusalem Post, Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Haaretz. He is the author of "Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews"

Justice Minister Yariv Levin arrives for a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on December 10, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Justice Minister Yariv Levin arrives for a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on December 10, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Justice Minister Yariv Levin criticizes the High Court for releasing two major rulings, both decided by small margins, during war, saying it “harms the unity of the people.”

The comment echoes Innovation, Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis, who argues that the court’s actions are splitting the people at a time when Israelis are putting aside their differences to fight “shoulder to shoulder.”

The court ruled Wednesday that a law shielding a sitting premier from recusal must be delayed, days after voiding a law that had curbed the court’s ability to use reasonableness as a factor in voiding laws.

Levin adds that “a democratically elected prime minister is replaced by a ballot and not by a verdict,” and claims the rulings prove the need for judicial reforms.

“The hasty and casual repeal of the Knesset legislation is further proof of the urgent need for a real balance between the branches of government,” he continues. “It is impossible to prevent the people from exercising their will in a proper democracy and to overturn the decisions of their representatives again and again.”

Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi says both rulings are “null and void” because “they contradict basic laws enacted democratically by an elected parliament.”

“The court has no authority to discuss fundamental laws, not to reject their applicability, certainly not to disqualify them and not even to approve them,” claims the Movement for Governability and Democracy, a conservative group established by MK Simcha Rothman, one of the architect’s of the government’s judicial overhaul plan.

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