Former interior minister Gideon Sa'ar: dispute over top court solvable

“All of these steps can change the current pattern."

April 26, 2018 05:09
2 minute read.
Gideon Sa'ar

Gideon Sa'ar. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)


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The current disputes over the fate of migrant workers in Israel and the controversial Supreme Court override bill can be resolved in multiple ways, former interior minister Gideon Sa’ar told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday night.

Sa’ar, who will be speaking at The Jerusalem Post Conference on Sunday in New York, expressed confidence that the dilemmas could be overcome.

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“First of all, with no connection to the migrants, I think Israel as a 70-year-old country needs a constitution, which will define judicial oversight of the Knesset and when the Knesset can override the courts,” Sa’ar said. “If such broad legislation could be passed, that would be ideal.

But if not, a pinpointed bill can be passed, applying only to migrant workers, and the coalition parties already agreed on that weeks ago.”

Sa’ar cited a precedent of Yitzhak Rabin overriding a Supreme Court decision when he was prime minister in 1993.

Rabin blocked a reform that would have allowed imports of non-kosher frozen meat, fearing the Shas religious party in his coalition would pull out over the issue.

Another idea Sa’ar suggested, is to immediately begin the expulsion of Eritrean migrant workers, that make up the majority of African migrants in Israel. He noted that the improving situation in that country has been recognized by courts internationally.

The European Court of Human Rights published a ruling in June 2017 saying there are no grounds for asylum that could prevent the deportation of migrants from Eritrea, Sa’ar noted, in a ruling that was later the justification for a similar ruling in Swiss Federal Court.

“It cannot be that every Eritrean faces danger,” Sa’ar said. “By these precedents, the Eritrean expulsion can be considered, and they are the majority, because most of the Sudanese left.”

Sa’ar’s final recommendation was to reopen the Holot detention center, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday he would do, but has not yet been implemented.

“All of these steps can change the current pattern,” Sa’ar said.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and coalition chairman David Amsalem also expressed confidence on Wednesday that disputes were almost over.

“There will be an agreement reached on the Supreme Court overriding bill, and I will not allow there to be fistfights among coalition partners and with the Supreme Court,” Kahlon said during a live open chat on his official Facebook page.

Amsalem told a conference of regional council mayors and deputy mayors that the courts were harming the functioning of the Knesset. But he also said the courts must be respected.

“If every office and body does its job in their own little fiefdom, the picture will be complete,” he said. “When everyone deals with everything, there is chaos in the state.”

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