Nobel winner Robert Aumann: We are witnessing ‘a coup of lawyers, I fear for the state’

Robert Aumann, recipient of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Economics (Flash90)

Nobel Prize winner Robert Aumann said that lawyers and jurists were taking over the country, negating the system of separation of powers.

By World Israel News Staff

Professor Robert Aumann, who won the Nobel Prize in 2005 in economics for his work on game-theory analysis, condemned recent actions of the Israeli State Prosecutor’s Office and the Office of the Attorney General.

Aumann told daily paper Israel Hayom in an exclusive interview, “I’m furious. The prosecutors are taking over the state. They do whatever they want. What happens here is a real coup.

“South American and Arab countries have generals’ coups. Here it’s a coup of jurists,” Aumann said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed similar sentiments on Nov. 21, the evening he was charged in an array of corruption cases. He said the country is witnessing an “attempted coup” against him.

Aumann said, “What is happening here is already anti-democratic and negates the whole principle of separation of powers. It is in fact a continuation of the 1990s judicial revolution, but the legal system has become more daring and crosses every line.”

By “judicial revolution,” Aumann referred to the dramatic expansion of powers of Israel’s judiciary led by then-Israeli Supreme Court Justice Aharon Barak.

Aumann told Israel Hayom that Mandelblit’s latest claim that only his candidate, Deputy State Prosecutor Shlomo Lamberger, can be appointed to fill the shoes of outgoing State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan, is a “scandal.”

“Where is such a thing heard? Not only does he make himself the only commentator on the law, he now also changes the law as he sees fit.”

“The problem, he argues, is that jurists think of themselves as lawmakers,” Israel Hayom said.

Aumann said Netanyahu had made a mistake not taking on the judiciary during his many years as prime minister. Netanyahu had prevented efforts by others in his coalition to take a more aggressive approach in reforming the judiciary. Indeed, he had appointed Shai Nitzan as state prosecutor, one of two people most cited as leading the corruption cases against the prime minister.

“He may have been afraid that if he acted against them, he’d be swallowed up, but that is exactly what happened anyway once his political agenda did not match theirs,” Aumann said.

In his Nov. 21 speech attacking the investigation against him, Netanyahu mentioned a number of cases in which politicians were taken down or had their appointments blocked by prosecutors.

Aumann also called the committee that appoints judges a “junta.”

“Judges sit on a judiciary selection committee and they have the right to veto? We and India are the only two countries in the world where this is the case,” he said.

David Isaac:
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