Ohana: I do not come to legal establishment with a tank, but in friendship

Acting Justice Minister Amir Ohana tried somewhat to offer an olive branch to the legal establishment saying, "I do not come to you with a bulldozer and a tank, but with open hands."

June 24, 2019 04:13
1 minute read.
Justice Minister Amir Ohana speaks at the Israeli Bar Association on June 10, 2019

Justice Minister Amir Ohana speaks at the Israeli Bar Association on June 10, 2019. (photo credit: YOSSI ZAMIR)


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Acting Justice Minister Amir Ohana attempted to offer an olive branch to the legal establishment on Sunday saying, “I do not come to you with a bulldozer and a tank, but with open hands, an open soul, and to take part in building with you.”

Ohana was speaking at the Justice Ministry in Jerusalem with Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit and State Attorney Shai Nitzan during the opening ceremony of his term.

Fresh off of a controversial interview with Channel 12 that led to criticisms for statements including that he may disobey certain court decisions, he appeared to take a more humble tone on Sunday. The acting justice minister still stuck to his guns regarding his belief that the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction to decide major policy issues in disputes within Israeli society should be limited. However, he affirmed that he would follow court decisions, presenting as his goals correcting past concerns over former Supreme Court justices issuing rulings that could politicize the court.

Nitzan warmly welcomed Ohana, but not without some back-handed endorsement. After Ohana claimed that there may be prosecutors trying to falsely frame him for a crime having not liked his political views, Nitzan seemed “sure that after the justice minister spent some more time in the ministry, some of his views would evolve and he would drop those controversial concerns.”

Ohana, for his part, did not directly refer to his prior statements, instead saying that he was very impressed by the ministry lawyers with whom he has met since starting his job.

Mandelblit did not take any direct shots at Ohana, but did make time to list many units of the ministry that fights for equality for a variety of minorities, in an effort to present all ministry workers as serving the public good, which contradicts Ohana’s implications that some ministry officials are politicized.

Both Mandelblit and Nitzan celebrated Ohana’s status as the first gay minister in Israel, and accentuated that it was not coincidentally at the Justice Ministry, which they claimed was always at the forefront of the fight for equality. While this was not an attack on Ohana, there was an implication that he should be prepared to help the ministry protect all minority rights including Arabs, just as the ministry has advanced LGBT rights.

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