Court ruling on migrants irks critics of judicial activism

MKs on Right say High Court violated separation of powers, Left-wing politicians say migrant policy violated human rights.

By
September 22, 2014 21:16
Eritrean migrants in Israel

Eritrean migrants in Tel Aviv.. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

The High Court of Justice overstepped its authority in nullifying a bill sending illegal migrants to a detention facility without trial, MKs on the right said on Monday.

The government “should consider limiting the authority of the High Court with regard to the issue of illegal infiltrators to Israel,” Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar said, responding to the decision.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


“This is a mistake, leaving Israel without tools to deal with the phenomenon of illegal infiltration. We need to reexamine the High Court’s authority on issues having to do with illegal infiltration of Israel,” he said.

Then-prime minister Yitzhak Rabin took similar action regarding the court’s decision in 1993 that, according to the Basic Law: Freedom of Occupation, a company called Meatrael should be allowed to import non-kosher meat, Sa’ar asserted. He viewed Monday’s ruling as problematic, being “the second intervention in one year with a law of the Knesset that was passed with a large majority.”

MK Eli Yishai (Shas), who as interior minister in the previous Knesset passed the first bill sending migrants to the Saharonim detention facility, said the High Court on Monday “put the future of the infiltrators before the future of the country and its citizens.”

According to Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, “the High Court showed extra activism and arrogated authority from the government, which has the ultimate responsibility for the security and the good of Israel.

“The disconnect between the ruling and the reality on the ground means that the residents of south Tel Aviv are being abandoned,” Bennett said.



Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel said the decision marked a “dark day for rule of law in Israel” and that the High Court is harming the government’s ability to defend the country.

Coalition chairman Yariv Levin (Likud) said the decision is “post-Zionist and undermines Israel’s existence as a Jewish state and tramples on the Knesset’s authority.”

The High Court justices “despise the basic principle that Israel is a Jewish state with a democratic government,” and the Knesset must “wake up and act quickly and determinedly to change the way judges are selected...so that we get judges with values who are committed to the future of Israel,” Levin said.

Bayit Yehudi faction chairwoman Ayelet Shaked called for a change in the way justices are chosen, so that they do not select their successors and there is a balance between judicial activists and the other members in the 11-member court.

“It’s time to set rules of the game between the Knesset and the High Court. The Knesset should be able to overturn a nullification by the High Court with a special majority,” Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) suggested.

“The Knesset should remember that the sovereign in the State of Israel is the people, which sent its representatives to the Knesset to set a policy that will shape all of our lives. There is no escape from deciding once and for all,” he said.

Elkin said that the High Court cannot take the place of the Knesset and the government and is unable to defend citizens from those who break laws, threaten the country’s security, and harm Israel’s Jewish character.

Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee chairman Miri Regev (Likud), whose panel sent the most recent anti-migration bill to the plenum, which passed it into law, called the ruling disgraceful.

“The court is disconnected from the people. The court’s decision is essentially calling everyone in Africa to come to Israel, because infiltrators can move around freely. The court didn’t think of the good of the Israeli public in its decision and will make the situation intolerable,” she said.

In contrast, MKs on the Left viewed the High Court as a savior.

“Once again the High Court proves it is the final gatekeeper and defender, not only of rule of law but of the moral and values-driven face of the State of Israel,” Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On said.

According to Gal-On, the ruling “is a clear rejection of the inhuman way the government treated asylum-seekers, and let’s hope that this time the Knesset won’t make worthless attempts at trying to bypass the High Court and will respect it and international conventions stating that asylum- seekers may not be abused.”

MK Nachman Shai (Labor) said the court “punctured the government’s arrogance” and overturned a policy that violated basic human rights by putting people in a detention facility without trial.

“Ahead of Rosh Hashana, the High Court strengthened our faith in Israel as a Jewish and democratic state,” Shai said.

Labor MK Shelly Yacimovich said the court “saved Israel from the shame of blatantly violating basic morals and human rights.

“It’s good that the High Court ruled against the awful concept of jailing people for a year without any due process and the existence of a detention facility that does not suit civilized countries,” she said.

Yacimovich added: “There are enough ways to deal with work migrants and refugees in a way that will address the interests of the State of Israel and its citizens, but will also express the Zionist and Jewish ethos of responsibility for the stranger, especially since the Jewish people was the victim of genocide, persecution, and expulsion.”

Yonah Jeremy Bob contributed to this report.The High Court of Justice overstepped its authority in nullifying a bill sending illegal migrants to a detention facility without trial, MKs on the right said on Monday.

The government “should consider limiting the authority of the High Court with regard to the issue of illegal infiltrators to Israel,” Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar said, responding to the decision.

“This is a mistake, leaving Israel without tools to deal with the phenomenon of illegal infiltration. We need to reexamine the High Court’s authority on issues having to do with illegal infiltration of Israel,” he said.

Then-prime minister Yitzhak Rabin took similar action regarding the court’s decision in 1993 that, according to the Basic Law: Freedom of Occupation, a company called Meatrael should be allowed to import non-kosher meat, Sa’ar asserted. He viewed Monday’s ruling as problematic, being “the second intervention in one year with a law of the Knesset that was passed with a large majority.”

MK Eli Yishai (Shas), who as interior minister in the previous Knesset passed the first bill sending migrants to the Saharonim detention facility, said the High Court on Monday “put the future of the infiltrators before the future of the country and its citizens.”

According to Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, “the High Court showed extra activism and arrogated authority from the government, which has the ultimate responsibility for the security and the good of Israel.

“The disconnect between the ruling and the reality on the ground means that the residents of south Tel Aviv are being abandoned,” Bennett said.

Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel said the decision marked a “dark day for rule of law in Israel” and that the High Court is harming the government’s ability to defend the country.

Coalition chairman Yariv Levin (Likud) said the decision is “post-Zionist and undermines Israel’s existence as a Jewish state and tramples on the Knesset’s authority.”

The High Court justices “despise the basic principle that Israel is a Jewish state with a democratic government,” and the Knesset must “wake up and act quickly and determinedly to change the way judges are selected...so that we get judges with values who are committed to the future of Israel,” Levin said.

Bayit Yehudi faction chairwoman Ayelet Shaked called for a change in the way justices are chosen, so that they do not select their successors and there is a balance between judicial activists and the other members in the 11-member court.

“It’s time to set rules of the game between the Knesset and the High Court. The Knesset should be able to overturn a nullification by the High Court with a special majority,” Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) suggested.

“The Knesset should remember that the sovereign in the State of Israel is the people, which sent its representatives to the Knesset to set a policy that will shape all of our lives. There is no escape from deciding once and for all,” he said.

Elkin said that the High Court cannot take the place of the Knesset and the government and is unable to defend citizens from those who break laws, threaten the country’s security, and harm Israel’s Jewish character.

Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee chairman Miri Regev (Likud), whose panel sent the most recent anti-migration bill to the plenum, which passed it into law, called the ruling disgraceful.

“The court is disconnected from the people. The court’s decision is essentially calling everyone in Africa to come to Israel, because infiltrators can move around freely. The court didn’t think of the good of the Israeli public in its decision and will make the situation intolerable,” she said.

In contrast, MKs on the Left viewed the High Court as a savior.

“Once again the High Court proves it is the final gatekeeper and defender, not only of rule of law but of the moral and values-driven face of the State of Israel,” Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On said.

According to Gal-On, the ruling “is a clear rejection of the inhuman way the government treated asylum-seekers, and let’s hope that this time the Knesset won’t make worthless attempts at trying to bypass the High Court and will respect it and international conventions stating that asylum- seekers may not be abused.”

MK Nachman Shai (Labor) said the court “punctured the government’s arrogance” and overturned a policy that violated basic human rights by putting people in a detention facility without trial.

“Ahead of Rosh Hashana, the High Court strengthened our faith in Israel as a Jewish and democratic state,” Shai said.

Labor MK Shelly Yacimovich said the court “saved Israel from the shame of blatantly violating basic morals and human rights.

“It’s good that the High Court ruled against the awful concept of jailing people for a year without any due process and the existence of a detention facility that does not suit civilized countries,” she said.

Yacimovich added: “There are enough ways to deal with work migrants and refugees in a way that will address the interests of the State of Israel and its citizens, but will also express the Zionist and Jewish ethos of responsibility for the stranger, especially since the Jewish people was the victim of genocide, persecution, and expulsion.”

Yonah Jeremy Bob contributed to this report.

Related Content

Basketball
July 20, 2018
Latest Israeli hoops protégé Deni Avdija finding his wings

By JOSHUA HALICKMAN