Israeli Bar Association Head Backs Criticism of Supreme Court

The head of the Israel Bar Association, Efi Naveh, spoke with Arutz Sheva about the left-wing attack on Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home), following her criticism of the Supreme Court on Monday

Israel Bar Association head Efi Naveh supports Justice Minister, explains that democracy means hearing things you don’t like.

The head of the Israel Bar Association, Efi Naveh, spoke with Arutz Sheva about the left-wing attack on Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home), following her criticism of the Supreme Court on Monday.

“The attack on Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked is inappropriate,” said Naveh. “If this is a democracy then it’s a democracy in both directions. It needs to include things that we don’t like to hear. She considers her criticism to be legitimate and so it is her right and her role to express it. You can choose not to agree but she should not be censured for doing so.”

As for the criticism of the Israeli justice system’s conduct, Naveh said: “We live in a country that contains many groups. Our justice system’s role is to find a delicate balance between all the groups, and to walk between the raindrops.

“We should not interfere in the public, political and diplomatic discourse and disagreements. We must always keep the legality and constitutionality of our actions in mind, and that is far from simple,” he emphasized.

On Monday, the head of the Bar Association told Supreme Court Chief Justice Miriam Naor, “I respect your leadership and the manner in which you lead the Supreme Court and the courts as a whole. I know that you often endure difficult times, but I have no doubt that you are guiding us in truth and justice according to your worldview. For this, you deserve admiration.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made it clear on Tuesday that recent criticism of the prosecution and Supreme Court is legitimate.

“A stable democracy does not force (demands) upon those who safeguard it. I respect the courts and the judges, and honor their decisions. It is every person’s full right; mine included, to critique those decisions. In a strong democracy, no institution is above critique,” Netanyahu said at the cornerstone laying ceremony of the National Library in Jerusalem.

Netanyahu also hinted that his criticism of the High Court’s decision regarding the gas deal is legitimate.

He added that “Our neighbors do not tolerate criticism; not of the courts and not of the government. Where criticism cannot be sounded, especially in unusual and exceptional times where it is necessary and appropriate, democracy is adversely affected. The dialogue must of course be to the point, not tempestuous, and it must enable profound discourse at all times, out of mutual respect… This is how I have operated, and this is how I will continue to operate.

The Prime Minister also responded to the laying of the library’s cornerstone and indicated that the event serves as a further platform separating Israel from its neighbors.

“The library is the focal point of intellectual freedom. This is no trivial matter these days in the Middle East. In tyrannical regimes, the greater public is denied access to libraries, if they exist at all. Contrary to Islamic extremists who destroy cultural treasures, we safeguard our cultural treasures.”

Hezki Ezra (INN)

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