Netanyahu: Judiciary will remain independent

By
November 29, 2011 20:19

During speech in Eilat, PM says court’s robustness ‘necessary to our existence’ as much as security, economy.

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Netanyahu speaking in Eilat

Netanyahu speaking in Eilat 311. (photo credit: Avi Ohion/ GPO)

Channeling Menachem Begin’s famous words that “there are judges in Jerusalem,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu related on Tuesday to the current controversies surrounding the Supreme Court by saying “there will be independent judges in Jerusalem.”

Netanyahu, speaking to a convention of state attorneys in Eilat, pledged to “protect the independence of the courts, which is a necessary condition to our existence here. This is no less important than security or economics.”

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The composition and purview of the Supreme Court, as well as the process of appointing Supreme Court judges, has in recent weeks been the focus of intense national debate. Some argue that proposed legislation related to the courts is ideologically motivated and meant to curb its independence; while others, who believe the court has a leftwing bias, argue that these measures are designed to bring it closer to the country’s mainstream.

On Sunday Netanyahu came out against one of those controversial pieces of legislation: a bill that would limit the ability of nongovernmental organizations to petition the High Court.

Begin’s famous comment was made in 1979 after the Supreme Court ruled that Elon Moreh had to be removed from the West Bank site where it was located at the time because it was built on private Palestinian land.

Begin, a champion of the settlement movement, was asked his opinion of the decision and replied, “There are judges in Jerusalem [whose rulings are binding].”

Netanyahu, at the convention in Eilat, also addressed the issue of illegal workers who have been smuggled into Israel from Sinai over the last few years, many of whom have made their way to Eilat.

“There is a huge flow of illegal infiltrators from Africa into Israel,” he said. “They are not refugees, they are coming here for employment purposes. Despite the world economic crisis that obligates us to show fiscal responsibility, there will be a budgetary supplement to finish the fence [along the border with Egypt] so we can meet the deadline we set for completing it in less than a year.”

The 240 kilometer fence is expected to be finished by next September at the cost of some NIS 135 billion.


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