Israeli Supreme Court Justice’s early retirement welcomed by right-wing

A review of the justice’s career shows a clear progressive tilt that angered many Israelis.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Supreme Court Justice Menachem (Meni) Mazuz’s sudden announcement last week that he’d be resigning his position four years earlier than expected for personal reasons garnered sighs of relief from those to the Right of Israel’s political map.

Mazuz is “the most authentic representative of the progressive camp,” Legal Forum for Israel founder Yossi Fox told Makor Rishon Monday. “His retirement is a blow to the left.”

His extreme stance in defense of minority and individual rights led him to consistently oppose one of the tools the IDF says is crucial in deterring terrorism – the destruction of Palestinians’ homes after they murder Israelis.

According to the Zionist Im Tirtzu movement, Mazuz ruled in 10 of 58 appeals to the High Court against IDF decisions to destroy terrorists’ homes. He came down on the side of killers’ families, citing reasons such as “disproportional harm” to the family or their neighbors, ignoring arguments in favor of demolitions such as that harsh consequences to relatives can be decisive in discouraging violent anti-Israel acts.

Hundreds of Israelis protested outside his home after he was part of a 2-1 majority in August that forbade the destruction of the family home of the Palestinian who killed IDF solder Amit Ben Yigal during an arrest raid.

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“Judge Mazuz signed today and approved future terrorist… acts,” Herzl and Meirav Hajaj told Channel 20 at the time. Their daughter Shir was a victim of terrorism.

“Those for whom the rights of the enemy and the despicable terrorists are more important than the citizens and soldiers of Israel cannot be a judge in Israel,” they said.

Before being elected to the Supreme Court in 2014, Mazuz served as Attorney General from 2004 to 2010. In that role, he appeared to take a different, much more forceful position where Jews were concerned, signing off on aggressive police measures against opponents of the 2005 Gaza Disengagement.

Mazuz was accused of turning a blind eye to police violence against peaceful protestors and holding young teenagers in prison for months until their trials for civil disobedience,  such as blocking roads during demonstrations.

Legal Forum’s Fox said Mazuz instructed his department to try charging those who blocked roads in protest sit-downs with “risking human life in a transport lane,” which was unprecedented – and carried a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

On one point, Mazuz and Israeli conservatives appeared to agree – that the Supreme Court is overreaching. Even before he was elected to the bench he came out against judicial activism.

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Most recently, he was part of the unanimous decision not to intervene when opponents of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appealed to the Court to stop him from taking office due to his indictment on corruption charges.