The Foundation for Constitutional Democracy

01-Jan-2002

A Petition Against Judicial Despotism In Israel

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Israel’s Supreme Court stands accused by eminent citizens of Israel of exceeding its lawful powers and endangering the democratic as well as Jewish character of the State.

Former President of Israel, the late Chaim Herzog: “In a democracy, according to [Court President Aharon] Barak, the courts are placed above the Government. In my humble opinion, this approach endangers, in certain cases, the very basis of democracy.”

Former Supreme Court President Moshe Landau: “How can it be considered democratic to allow an oligarchic body such as the Supreme Court to review decisions that were made in a democratic fashion [by the Knesset]?”

Former Deputy President of the Court professor Menachem Elon: “The theory [that the Court may intervene in the law-making activities of the Knesset] has no basis in reality.”

Former Supreme Court Justice Yaakov Maltz: “The Supreme Court has crossed red lines, and is harming the dominion of the Knesset.”

Former Supreme Court Justice Zvi Tal: “When the Court must decide between individual civil rights and Jewish values, the former has until now been given the upper hand. This should not be so in a Jewish state”.

Hebrew University political scientist professor Shlomo Avineri: “The Court’s judicial activism of the past few years has caused not a small portion of the population - and not only extreme hareidi’ to view the Court as its enemy.”

Attorney Yisrael Kluf, a member of the Israel Bar Association Central Committee: “When the [Barak] Court determined that everything is justiciable and that the Court is authorized to nullify laws it took powers that it never had and that were very close to ‘if not beyond’ those of other branches.”

Hebrew University professor of law Ruth Gavison: “No Supreme Court in the world has taken upon itself such powers. The judges of the Supreme Court represent a particular segment of Israeli society: Ashkenazi secular men. It is not clear why the entire Israeli society must live according to its dictates.”

Specifically, whereas this Court nullified the Knesset Elections Committee decision to disqualify Arab Knesset Member Azmi Bishara, who was indicted by the Attorney General for violating the Prevention of Terrorism Act;

Whereas this same Court ignored the Attorney General’s decision, affirmed by the Knesset Elections Committee, to disqualify the Balad Party for violating Basic Law: The Knesset, which prohibits any party that negates the Jewish character of he State;

Whereas this same Court quashed the Attorney General’s indictment of Arab Knesset Member Talib a-Sana, who, in an interview on Abu-Dabai TV, not only praised a suicide bombing attack in Israel but also called for more of the same;

Whereas this same court ordered the Interior Minister to recognize homosexual adoptions performed overseas, even though Israeli law does not recognize such; declared parental spanking a criminal offense, contrary to a consensus of the Knesset; nullified a law permitting the Film Censorship Board to ban pornographic movies by ruling that nothing can actually be declared pornography, as one man’s pornography is another man’s art;

Therefore, given the preceding evidence, we call on the Knesset to assert its constitutional authority by amending Basic Law: The Judiciary to (1) explicitly exclude the Supreme Court from reviewing Knesset legislation, hence, to limit the Court’s jurisdiction to civil and criminal cases; (2) explicitly require the Supreme Court to abide by the Foundations of Law Act 1980 such that its decisions will be consistent with “the principles of freedom, justice, equity, and peace of the Jewish heritage”; and (3) establish a Constitutional Court whose jurisdiction will extend only to basic laws that directly affect the organization of the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of government.

Name: ______________________________________

Address: _______________________________________________

Send to: Prof. Paul Eidelberg, FCD, P.O. Box 23702, Jerusalem 91236 Israel or Sign online.