(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said on Wednesday that he opposes a bill that would override rulings by the High Court of Justice being advanced by Bayit Yehudi leaders Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked, saying that it would harm Israel’s democracy.
The Kulanu party leader spoke out strongly in defense of the High Court, saying that it was the last defense of the weak and necessary to protect the rule of law in a democratic society.
Speaking about the recent High Court ruling which struck down the law allowing unlimited exemptions from military service for haredi yeshiva students, Kahlon said he did not like the decision, as he had not liked a decision striking down a law he had advanced for a special tax on owning three homes.
“I didn’t like the High Court ruling on enlistment, we have a year to fix and we will do it,” he said.
“Despite this I am against the override clause of Ministers Bennett and Shaked, it will harm democracy,” he told Radio Darom.
“I will defend the rule of law and the High Court of Justice. I do not want to live in a state in which there is no judicial review and in which people can disappear in the night. We don’t want to be there.
“But do I like all of the recent decisions by the High Court? The answer is no. If there is a need then things can be fixed, not destroyed.”
Kahlon concluded saying that he was “in favor of enlistment by law,” and that a new bill would be drafted that does not harm the rule of law and the High Court.
“The High Court is the last fortress of the weak, understand this. The strong want to destroy it because it bothers them. I don’t like the rulings on the third apartment tax or the infiltrators [illegal immigrants]. But in the end, in the big picture, it is preferable that there is a framework of hierarchy, there are courts, the police, the state attorney, the government and the Knesset. We need to protect this.”
Last week, the High Court struck down a 2015 law passed at the behest of the haredi political parties which reinstated the mass military service exemptions for haredi yeshiva students that were due to expire in mid-2017.
The court ruled that the law damaged the principle of equality before the law of all citizens, and ordered the government to formulate a more equitable bill within 12 months.