Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara on Thursday ordered Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to refrain from interfering in the judicial reform legislation, due to a conflict of interests between Netanyahu’s personal matters concerning his ongoing criminal trial “and essential components of the initiatives.”
According to the AG, Netanyahu should also avoid “giving direct or indirect guidance through other parties when it comes to promoting the initiatives,” including “consultations and informal actions.”
Baharav-Miara enclosed an opinion submitted by Deputy AG Gil Limon which states: “The completion of these initiatives, even partly, will lead to a regime and judicial reality that benefits the prime minister in terms of the conduct of his trial compared to the existing situation, since the independence of the legal institutions will be harmed vis-à-vis the executive branch. Important guarantees to the ability of these institutions to offer equality to all before the law will be harmed, and the independence of the gatekeepers, which is essential to prevent illegitimate influences on the judicial process, will be weakened. Alongside this, the coalition’s ability to promote legislation that will help the prime minister’s personal interests will increase.”
The above is an accumulation of nightmarish horsepucky compiled by someone who quite obviously cares little about offering a fair review of Justice Minister Yariv Levin’s proposed reform. It equates the attempt to reach a balance among the three branches of government with depriving the courts of their ability to mete out equal justice. It would be hilarious if it weren’t so tragic.
For years, Israel’s supreme court hunted down weak minorities, from the public housing tenants on lucrative land coveted by developers to Haredim protesting a highway that was rammed up their neighborhood, complete with jammed Shabbat traffic, to Settlers who were forced to abandon their homes because a sliver of them stood on private Arab land, to teenage girls who were thrown in the slammer for days because they protested the Gush Katif expulsions – it goes on and on, there isn’t a downtrodden minority in Israel that wasn’t repressed by the predatory courts.
The tragic-comic opinion is an attempt to humiliate Netanyahu after he has already been dragged in the mud by the Supreme Court over the ministerial appointments of Shas Chairman Aryeh Deri – with the court ignoring constitutional legislation that cleared him of the notorious “disgrace clause.” The message of both moves is clear: anyone who dares to stand up to the oligarchy that rules Israel’s judicial apparatus will be punished severely, including Israel’s most popular political leader since David Ben Gurion – PM Netanyahu.
Deputy AG Limon snuck in a nasty note that had nothing to do with Netanyahu’s alleged conflict of interests – he just used the opportunity to smear the judicial reform a little further, because, you know, he could: “The aggregate result of the initiatives for changes in the judicial system that are already being worked on in the government and the Knesset is a fundamental change in the balance point that exists among the branches of governing in the State of Israel, constituting a significant strengthening of the executive branch while weakening the judicial branch and the system of legal counsel to the government.”
But the numbers don’t lie: how many times did Israeli governments ignore Judicial intervention? The answer is zero. How many times did the Supreme Court kill Knesset legislation and Government action? The answer is 22. How many ministerial initiatives were aborted before they came to term under the threats of each minister’s legal counsel? The answer is hundreds, possibly thousands. The judicial reform restores the balance among the branches of government, a balance that has been skewed over the past 30 years, care of Supreme Court President Aharon Barak.
Finally – does Limon honestly consider the ministerial legal counselors and the attorney general to be a branch of government? Because such an assertion would have baffled Hobbes, Locke, and Montesquieu, who had no idea that someday there would be a Gali Baharav-Miara on our Lord’s precious green planet and had they known would have probably sent her out to fetch some mead.