Peres: NGO bill runs counter to democracy

President voices deep concern that proposals coming out of the Knesset run counter to the spirit of democracy of the State of Israel.

November 16, 2011 05:32
1 minute read.
Peres, Silvan Shalom at youth conference

Peres at youth conference 311. (photo credit: Oshri Cohen-Akko)

President Shimon Peres, who served as a Member of Knesset for almost half a century prior to his election to the presidency, has lambasted his former colleagues for overstepping their mandate and abusing their powers.

Angered by a recent wave of legislation – concerning judicial appointments and foreign funding for NGOs – that has emanated from the Knesset, Peres on Tuesday lashed out angrily, in an address that he delivered in Kiryat Gat. Peres, who was the guest of honor at the Israel for the Young Conference 2011, organized by Silvan Shalom, the minister for the development of the Galilee and the Negev, blasted those MKs who seek to change the rules of the game.

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Israeli democracy is no less important internally than externally, Peres declared.

“Internally, democracy is defined by an administration that serves the people rather than rules the people. The government was elected to serve the people and if you serve the people, you serve everyone – both the majority and the minority, Jews and Arabs.”

When there is a dispute, the majority decides but doesn’t rule, Peres continued.

The President voiced deep concern that proposals coming out of the Knesset run counter to the spirit of democracy of the State of Israel.

Peres called on MKs to serve the people and to desist from foisting anti-democratic laws on the nation. He also made the point that justice cannot be served if judges are subservient to political parties.

He warned against any attempt to change the status quo vis-à-vis the appointment of judges, saying that aside from being anti-democratic, it was detrimental to Israel’s image.

Later in the day, at a ceremony in which he was made an honorary citizen of Beersheba, Peres again raised the matter and said that he was glad that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was not a party to what was happening in the Knesset.

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