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
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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
Israeli democracy is no less important internally than externally,
“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
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.