Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked call to free IDF from High Court

“[Ayelet] Shaked will win over the High Court, [Naftali] Bennett will defeat Hamas,” read a new series of billboards from the New Right Party.

March 17, 2019 23:59
3 minute read.
New Right co-leaders Naftali Bennett (R) and Ayelet Shaked (L) enter a press conference in Tel Aviv

New Right co-leaders Naftali Bennett (R) and Ayelet Shaked (L) enter a press conference in Tel Aviv, March 17th, 2019. (photo credit: MOR ALONI/MAARIV)


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The High Court of Justice rulings and fear of legal repercussions have kept Israel’s hands tied when it comes to defense, New Right leaders Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Education Minister Naftali Bennett said Sunday, launching the latest phase in their election campaign.

“Shaked will win over the High Court, Bennett will defeat Hamas,” read a new series of billboards from the party.

The slogan comes less than a week after Bennett drew criticism from the Left for juxtaposing efforts to restrain both groups, but the aspiring defense minister leaned into the comparison.

“We have to free the IDF from the High Court so it can go back to defeating Hamas,” he said in a Tel Aviv press conference. “Israel used to be daring, aggressive… but the captains of today are passive. Their moves are expected… It wasn’t like this 30 years ago.”

The 30-years reference is apparently to 1992, when what’s known as the “Constitutional Revolution” took place, after Basic Laws regarding human rights were passed and the Supreme Court began to take on greater powers.

Shaked said she “changed the trend” of judicial activism in the last four years, bringing in more conservative judges, but there is more to be done.

The justice minister lamented that “there are legal limitations that in recent years prevented the IDF from effective deterrence.”

Bennett and Shaked pointed out that the courts only allow demolishing a terrorist’s home if an Israeli is killed, “even though the goal of home demolitions is deterrence,” Shaked said.

Soldiers have to “think five times before shooting a terrorist, because they’re worried about being put on trial,” Bennett said. “That’s the truth… I say clearly: The time has come to put the right of Israelis to live before the human rights of terrorists.”

Bennett also specifically criticized Blue and White leader Benny Gantz and number three on the party’s list, former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon.

Ya’alon slammed Bennett in a weekend television interview for seeking a preemptive strike on Hamas terror tunnels in 2014, months before Hamas began an escalation in attacks on Israel.

Meretz supporters (background) confront Naftali Bennett (front-right) outside a press conference and call him a "danger to Israel," in Tel Aviv, March 17th, 2019 (Courtesy)

“This man was defense minister during Operation Protective Edge, for God’s sake – and then we’re surprised when we don’t win!” Bennett exclaimed. “The most just, and most Jewish thing to do is when someone comes to kill you, you get up to kill him. What happened to us? How did we let this mindset of the High Court and Gantz go so deep?”

As for Gantz, Bennett pointed out that he was not Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then-defense minister Ehud Barak’s first choice for IDF chief of staff. He was only selected out of concern that if now-Likud candidate Yoav Gallant was chosen, the appointment could be subject to a Supreme Court challenge because of ethical violations by Gallant.

“We need to release Israel from the ropes tying our hands,” Bennett said. “Give us the tool chest to defeat Hamas so we can go back to winning in military and civilian life.”

Bennett repeated that he wants to be defense minister and Shaked would like to retain the justice portfolio.

Asking how they expect to do that when they are polling at an average of six seats, Bennett predicted that his party will end up in the double digits.

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