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After Sasson finished her report, she joined the post-Zionist Meretz Party. In 2009 she ran unsuccessfully for Knesset.
In an attempt to mitigate the damage Sasson’s report caused to Israel’s legal position in Judea and Samaria, in February Netanyahu commissioned retired Supreme Court justice Edmond Levy to lead a task force of distinguished jurists and present the government with a report setting out Israel’s legal rights to Judea and Samaria. Netanyahu asked Levy to also offer recommendations for implementing those rights in relation to the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
Weinstein didn’t even wait for the Levy Commission to begin its work before he sent Netanyahu a letter informing him that the commission’s report would have no impact on his handling of issues related to Israel’s rights to the areas. And as his decision to ignore the legally constituted ministerial committee’s position on Migron made clear, Weinstein continues to behave as though he and his colleagues sit above Israel’s democratically elected representatives.
Many on the Right are urging Netanyahu to adopt the findings of the Levy Commission as official government policy. While such a move certainly can’t hurt, it is hard to see what difference it would make in practice. Weinstein has already pledged to defy the government. So even if the report is adopted, the government’s lawyers will refuse to defend its positions.
Weinstein is only able to behave as he does because he operates in an environment where the Supreme Court has usurped the power of Israel’s elected governments to determine state policy.
At the same time that then-Supreme Court president Aharon Barak declared that “everything is justiciable,” the court gutted the requirement for legal standing. It has worked hand in glove with radical groups like Peace Now to dictate government policy. Through this collaboration, the court – not the government – determines Israel’s policies on everything from Israel’s legal position in Judea and Samaria to environmental issues, to the nature of Israel’s penal system, to homosexual unions, to education policy, to permissible military tactics in wartime.
In this environment of judicial tyranny, Weinstein can freely undercut governmental authority, because he knows that so long as his breach of trust pushes government policy to the Left, the Supreme Court will support his unlawful actions.
Aside from Migron, the most striking example of the legal fraternity’s recent collaboration to undercut governmental authority was its torpedoing of the government’s February 2011 appointment of Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant to serve as the IDF chief of staff. At the time, the court agreed to hear a petition submitted by the Green Movement demanding the cancellation of Galant’s appointment.
The Green Movement claimed Galant was unfit to lead the military because in the past he had committed an administrative infraction by wrongfully using state land adjacent to his homestead on Moshav Amikam. The Green Movement had no direct interest in Galant’s administrative infraction and therefore, if the Supreme Court followed even the lowest standards for standing, it should never have received a hearing.
Even with the forbearance of the court, the Green Movement’s ability to win the case was dubious at best. The Senior Appointments Committee had already vetted Galant’s candidacy, and approved it despite his misuse of state lands. But Weinstein had other plans.
Claiming he had “ethical difficulties” defending Galant’s lawful appointment, Weinstein refused to defend the government before the Supreme Court. Consequently, Weinstein compelled the government to force Galant to resign his commission and appoint someone else to serve as the IDF’s top commander.
Netanyahu has come under sharp criticism, particularly from his voters, for his refusal to stand up to Weinstein and his band of legal despots. And this makes sense. Netanyahu should have stood up to Weinstein in defense of Galant. And he should have denounced Weinstein last month for his unlawful defiance of the government on Migron. He should also stand up to Weinstein on the Levy Commission report, and just as a matter of policy, adopt its findings as the formal position of Israel’s government.
But even if he does these things, all they would serve to do is temporarily mitigate the frustration of his voters. They wouldn’t change the basic calculus of power. The fact is that today Netanyahu lacks the means to curb the legal fraternity’s abuse of power.
The media staunchly defend every move the legal fraternity takes to usurp the powers of the government and the Knesset. Indeed, the media represents the legal brotherhood’s unlawful moves as supreme acts of selflessness on behalf of Israeli democracy and the rule of law.
Every potentially powerful critic of their behavior has found himself the subject of protracted criminal probes. This includes Netanyahu during his first term, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman for the past decade, former justice ministers Tzachi Hanegbi and Haim Ramon, and Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman during his first tenure in office.
The dispossessed residents of Migron are just the latest casualties of the legal fraternity’s campaign to force its radical agenda on an unwilling electorate. If we wish to save Israel’s democratic system, the people of this country must stand up and demand that our representatives protect our right to be governed by those whom we elect and not by self-appointed clerks.
The only suitable response to Migron is a legislative overhaul of Israel’s legal system.
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