Smotrich: ‘No to civil war, no to radical leftist agenda’

According to the finance minister, the court was only interested in protecting “the values and interests of a tiny minority group” and turning Israel into a state for all its citizens.

By Adina Katz, World Israel News 

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich came out against what he called “wild attacks” from the opposition about the government’s proposed judicial reform — including party leader Benny Gantz’s claim that the measures would lead to civil war — and said that the only goal was to establish a “strong and independent legal system” that doesn’t promote a “radical leftist agenda.”

“In recent days, we have witnessed wild attacks by various personalities against Justice Minister [Yariv] Levin, and it is doubly sad when harsh words and threats of civil war come from the people at the highest levels,” Smotrich said during the weekly Religious Zionism faction meeting.

“The national camp has always said, ‘no to civil war,'” Smotrich said, and urged opposition leaders to put an end to the “heated and inciting discourse.”

“Correcting the legal and democratic system, after the judicial revolution led by a select number of people who very cunningly picked their own replacements and established a concentration of unlimited power that omitted the power of the public does not constitute the end of democracy,” he said.

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The aim of the judicial reforms is to “strengthen Israeli democracy,” he said.

“I have said many times, I will not live a single day in a country that lacks a strong and independent legal system. A system that protects individual rights and is less about promoting a radical leftist agenda.

The court will have the “public’s trust,” the finance minister said,  and will be diverse and strong and give relief to the weak and protect the rights of the underprivileged.”

“Keeping election promises is not a privilege or a right, but our democratic and moral duty to the public,” he said.

He noted the court’s past decisions which included putting 14-year-old girls, who protested against the dismantling of outposts in Judea and Samaria, into detention.

Smotrich also charged former Supreme Court President Aharon Barak with hypocrisy for calling to overturn Levin’s proposed reforms on the claim that they were undemocratic.

A long-time advocate of judicial activism, Barak expanded the Supreme Court’s role in shaping Israeli laws, declaring the Basic Laws to be Israel’s constitution, expanding the court’s right to overturn Knesset laws.

Smotrich noted that Barak closed the Arutz Sheva news site, “the only voice the national camp had in the State of Israel.”

Smotrich argued that the court has only been interested in protecting “the values and interests of a tiny minority group” that was interested in turning Israel into from a Jewish state into a state for all its citizens.

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“We are freeing the State of Israel from this anti-democratic thing. I say with responsibility, the judicial system will emerge from this more strengthened, more independent,” he concluded.