Supreme Court chief: Government launching ‘unrestrained attack on the justice system’

Jeremy Sharon is The Times of Israel’s legal affairs and settlements reporter

Supreme Court Chief justice Esther Hayut speaks at a conference of the Israeli Association of Public Law on January 12, 2023. (Screencapture/nevo.co.il)
Supreme Court Chief justice Esther Hayut speaks at a conference of the Israeli Association of Public Law on January 12, 2023. (Screencapture/nevo.co.il)

Supreme Court President Esther Hayut accuses Justice Minister Yariv Levin of instigating an “unrestrained attack on the justice system,” with his proposals to radically overhaul the legal and justice system.

In what is likely the harshest speech ever delivered by a serving Supreme Court president against a ruling coalition, Hayet begins her address at a conference of the Israeli Association of Public Law by noting: “A few days ago, the new justice minister presented a lightning plan for far-reaching changes in the justice system.”

“In practice,” she charges, “it amounts to an unrestrained attack on the justice system, as though it was an enemy that had to be rushed and defeated.”

She goes on: “With great cynicism, the architects of the plan call it ‘a plan to correct the judicial system.’ And I say, it is a plan to crush the judicial system. It is intended to deliver a fatal blow to the independence and autonomy of the judicial system and silence it.”

“This conclusion is clear,” Hayut says, ” both from the way in which the justice minister chose to present his plan and from its content and essence. There is no other way to understand the dramatic press conference that the minister chose to arrange just days after he took office in which he presented his plan.

“Democracy includes the defense of the individual and his freedom, and guarantees that majority rule does not become a tyranny of the majority,” the Supreme Court president continues.

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