(photo credit: TWITTER)
Justice Minister Amir Ohana told Channel 12 on Wednesday that he is ready to disobey rulings by the High Court of Justice if they go against his view of what is necessary to keep Israel’s citizens safe.
In his first interview since he was appointed justice minister last week, Ohana also made controversial statements about the corruption cases against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
He said that he continues to support a bill to give Netanyahu immunity from prosecution while he remains in office, as well as a bill to circumvent the High Court’s ability to veto Knesset laws.
Moreover, he would not commit to supporting the court if it ruled in favor of prosecuting Netanyahu, merely saying that he hoped it would not come to that.
Furthermore, while he refused to criticize Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit’s February 28 announcement of his likely intent to indict Netanyahu, he said that he stood by his previous statements, including that Mandelblit had been pressured by his prosecution team into going after Netanyahu against his better judgment.
Ohana also questioned the professionalism and nonpartisan status of the prosecution, saying there should be no assumption that all of them “are angels” without “improper interests.”
The new acting justice minister’s interview put him even farther to the right than his right-leaning predecessor Ayelet Shaked, who attacked the High Court but never advocated disobeying it and never criticized Mandelblit’s handling of the Netanyahu corruption cases.
While a court spokeswoman declined to respond to Ohana’s comments, opposition Knesset members condemned his statements.
Blue and White MK Ofer Shelah said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed Ohana to destroy the rule of law from inside.
“What else do you need to know to understand what stands before us in this election?” Shelah asked the public.
His Blue and White colleague, MK Karine Elharar, said, “Ohana’s statements belong in dark regimes that are far from here.”
She accused him of “trampling the Supreme Court and completely ignoring its authority,” “mocking the professionals he is now in charge of” and “spitting in the face of his [LGBT] community.”
She also called him paranoid for saying he is afraid that a case against him will be manufactured in order to incriminate him.
Labor MK Shelly Yacimovich advised Ohana that if he “obeys the law and keeps his hands clean,” no one will manufacture a case against him.
She said he should be thankful to left-wing legislators for making his sexual orientation no longer a crime.
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