Likud court head vows to put law above ideology

New head of the Likud’s internal court, former MK Michael Kleiner, says he is "a man of the law," will not let opinions rule him.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
July 3, 2013 02:26
2 minute read.
MICHAEL KLEINER

MICHAEL KLEINER 370. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

 
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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu need not worry that the new head of the Likud’s internal court is a fierce opponent of any territorial compromise and the Palestinian state that Netanyahu wants to create, former MK Michael Kleiner said Tuesday.

Kleiner won Sunday’s race for the influential post by a wide margin with 1,015 votes, compared to 766 for his nearest competitor in the 10- candidate race. Kleiner’s success came despite joining the race just five days before the election.

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In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, Kleiner said that just as he opposes the so-called judicial activism that former chief justice Aharon Barak promoted in the Supreme Court, he would not let his opinions prevent him from ruling fairly according to the Likud constitution in his court.

“My job might require me to rule against my ideological positions, but I am a man of the law,” Kleiner said.

“You have to go according to the law or there will be chaos. I’m not Aharon Barak. I know my place.”

When asked how he would rule if Netanyahu advanced the creation of a Palestinian state against Likud bylaws, Kleiner said he did not believe the prime minister would take such a step.

“The prime minister is a smart man,” Kleiner said. “He is not [former prime minister] Ariel Sharon, whose [Kadima] party now only has two seats. Unlike Arik [Sharon] who came from the Left, Bibi [Netanyahu] has strong roots in Likud, like me. Bibi wouldn’t dream of doing what Sharon did. He knows there is no partner on the Palestinian side.”

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When Kleiner was a National Union legislator, he left the faction to protest its merger with MK Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party. But Kleiner said he now saw no problem with Liberman taking Yisrael Beytenu into the Likud.

“Back then, I was in a small party that supported keeping all of the Land of Israel, so I did not think it was right to join together with a party that wants Umm el-Fahm to be part of a Palestinian state,” he said. “But the Likud is a large pluralist party, and I have no problem with Liberman personally. I think there should be a two-party system, so I would welcome Bayit Yehudi and Shas into the Likud as well.”

Kleiner, who served in the Knesset from 1982 to 2003, said he still had political aspirations. His ultimate goal is to be justice minister.

“I would want to be justice minister to ensure reforms would be made so the courts would not be able to try to control the government or the Knesset,” he said. “The courts cannot serve just one sector. They have to represent the entire public.”

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