Supreme Court Justice blasts Knesset Speaker, warns of ‘anarchy’

“The path to anarchy and chaos is a short distance,” said Chief Justice Hayut.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

With tensions between Israel’s Supreme Court and Knesset simmering, Chief Justice Esther Hayut said that objections to Court rulings striking down legislation are a “great threat.”

Hayut, speaking in Eilat at an Israel Bar Association conference, said that “there are public servants who have entitled themselves to call for non-compliance and non-respect of court rulings with which they do not agree.”

She said that “there is a great threat embedded in these highly irresponsible statements – and it is important to clearly warn about it – that undermining the legitimacy of the courts and its rulings undermines the principle of the rule of law, and from there, the path to anarchy and chaos is a short distance.”

While she did not single him out by name, it’s likely that Hayut was referring to Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin, who openly expressed his displeasure over a Supreme Court decision striking down a quasi-constitutional basic law passed by the Knesset.

Last week, the Court ruled that a quasi-constitutional Basic Law passed by the Knesset last year, which permitted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to continue funding state agencies without a formally approved state budget, was a “misuse of the Knesset’s authority.”

The Court chided the members of the Knesset for passing the legislation for “convenience” and stated that they reserved the right to overturn such laws in the future when they see fit.

Levin took to Twitter to raise his objections about the decision, writing that, “The High Court decision to issue a ‘notice of invalidation’ to a Basic Law is a decision without any authority. It’s shocking.”

He called the ruling “an attempted coup” and “an insane event in which six people are wrapping themselves in judicial robes in order to carry out a coup,” and pledged that he would “defend the stature and authority of the Knesset.”

Because Israel does not have a clear separation of powers between the judicial and legislative branches, there have been a number of high-profile conflicts in recent years over which policies should prevail.

In December 2020, the Court agreed to hear arguments against the Nation-State Law. The move angered right-wing lawmakers, who said the Court had no authority to make a decision on the validity of the law.