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.”
Who is Supreme Court Justice Asher Dan Grunis?
PM speaks out against bills limiting High Court
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
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.
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
“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.