‘Stealing Democracy’: Israel’s Supreme Court blasted as it flexes muscles

The Supreme Court made two controversial rulings that sparked anger among activists who say it is “basically running the country.”

By David Isaac, World Israel News

Israel’s Supreme Court, under heavy fire for years for judicial overreach, made two controversial decisions on Thursday even as it prepared to hear the attorney general’s opinion regarding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s fitness to rule later that day. Opponents accused it of “stealing democracy.”

After the High Court ruled against extending the post of the acting state attorney, it made a second controversial decision regarding bread products on Passover.

First, the court issued a temporary injunction to block the extension by three more months of acting State Attorney Dan Eldad. Justice Minister and Likud MK Amir Ohana, who had picked Eldad to temporarily fill the post, asked for the extension.

Eldad has been in a struggle with Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit. Mandelblit has been telling close associates that Eldad and Ohana are conspiring to have him ousted, Haaretz recently reported.

In a war of words that went public last week. Mandelblit said Eldad has exhibited “moral, professional and administrative failings.” Eldad has been calling for a probe of the attorney general himself on corruption.

The High Court appeared to take sides when it stepped in on Thursday to freeze Eldad’s extension, favoring a petition submitted by 10 lawyers. Their petition argued that extending Eldad’s term was extremely unreasonable given Mandelblit’s opposition to it.

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In the second ruling that raised protest, the Supreme Court decided that hospitals can’t stop people from bringing bread products into their facilities during Passover. According to Jewish religious law, bread is forbidden on the holiday. It ruled that security guards at the entrances to hospitals can’t search bags for bread during the weeklong holiday.

Transportation Minister Betzalel Smotrich, a religious-Zionist and member of the Yemina party, slammed the ruling.

“The Supreme Court continues to destroy the fundamental values of the Jewish State, and to impose its own crazy progressive values in an undemocratic manner and without the authority to do so,” he said.

“It’s obvious that the Supreme Court is basically running the country, and is imposing its views in more and more areas in a way that makes democratic process and the citizens themselves superfluous. The only question is, when will people wake up and realize that this has gone too far?” he said.

MK Moshe Gaffney, chairman of the haredi Degel Hatorah party, said, “I propose that there be primaries for the High Court judges and to establish that in matters of Knesset legislation, the issue will pass a legislative process as in the Knesset.”

Likud MK Gideon Sa’ar, considered a possible successor to Netanyahu, said “This is what judicial activism on steroids looks like. In less than a week: Cancellation of the Deposit Law for illegals. Eliminating Shin Bet tracking – corona. Interim injunction to prevent the extension of the Office of the State Attorney. Abolition of the ban on the introduction of chametz [bread products] on Passover to hospitals. In two words: power mad.”

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Some supported the decision, such as the far-left Meretz party. “Today’s decision marks the end for the Chametz police in hospitals and represents another important victory in the fight against religious coercion and the path to a more free state.”

On Thursday, Attorney General Mandelblit is expected to submit his opinion as to whether Netanyahu can serve as prime minister while under indictment. There are eight petitions opposing Netanyahu that have been sent to the court. Mandelblit will also give his opinion on the legality of the unity government deal between Likud and Blue and White.

Protesters outside the Supreme Court on Thursday expressed their opposition against the court ruling on such matters which they considered beyond its purview.