Israel's new justice minister clarifies remark that he's prepared to disobey Supreme Court decisions

Israel’s new justice minister clarifies remark that he’s prepared to disobey Supreme Court decisions

“We are not talking about decisions with which I happen to disagree,” Ohana countered.

By World Israel News Staff 

Justice Minister Amir Ohana has issued a clarification to an earlier statement he made in favor of disobeying court rulings, saying that he was referring only to “extreme” cases when lives are at stake.

In his first interview as justice minister, which he gave the same day he was sworn in, Ohana said he’d go against Supreme Court rulings if they went against his view of what’s best for Israel’s security.

Supreme Court President Esther Hayut, in a speech on Thursday, lashed out the new justice minister for espousing “an unprecedented and irresponsible judicial worldview according to which not all rulings handed out by courts should be honored.”

“Between this perception of the world and the anarchy of ‘everyone doing what’s right in their own eyes’ – the road is short,” she added.

In his clarification, Ohana said in a statement that when speaking of disobeying a court ruling, he had given “an example of an extreme case that happened in reality.”

His reference was to a 2004 High Court ruling that prevented the military from demolishing Palestinian structures near the Kissufim crossing into the Gaza Strip. Israel still controlled the Gaza enclave at the time, before its 2005 pullout.

The security establishment wanted the structures removed to prevent ambush terror attacks. Later, terrorists used one of the buildings as cover to murder a pregnant Israeli woman and her four daughters.

Ohana argues that the court decision should have been disregarded.

“We are not talking about decisions with which I happen to disagree,” Ohana countered on Thursday. “I was talking about the most extreme cases where… they could cost lives,” he said.

Ohana has been highly critical of Israel’s court system, charging that there are no checks and balances in the judiciary and advocating for change. He says there is a rift between the public and the judiciary.

He is also in favor of an Override Clause, which would give the Knesset the ability to override by a simple majority Knesset rulings that strike down laws duly passed by Israel’s parliament.