Several days after declaring that he would not let the Supreme Court dictate to him how to allocate the state budget, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Tuesday warmly praised the judicial system.
Speaking at a ceremony marking the completion of a study program at the National Security College, he said: "The judicial system today is a key element in our national impermeability. I attribute this to the intense and positive involvement of the judicial system in security matters. In the expanding judicial theater, our judicial system has become the state's bulletproof vest, the vest that grants us, the political and military echelon, the certainty of morality, good conscience and legality regarding the measures we take to protect the citizens of Israel."
Olmert said the judicial system "gives every citizen the stable foundation for life in a democratic context free of unfairness and corruption on the part of public and government systems. It provides a solid infrastructure of justice and equality among all citizens."
Last week, Olmert sharply criticized the Supreme Court for its May 29 ruling that ordered the state to fortify all classrooms in Sderot and the Gaza Strip periphery from grades four to the end of high school. The state had already agreed to fortify all kindergartens and classrooms up to and including grade three. For the higher grades, it had opted to create reinforced public spaces in the schools, which children would have to reach within 15 seconds of the siren warning of an imminent rocket attack.
Despite the ruling, the government has still not handed over the funding for the extra fortifications to the Home Front Command, which is responsible for civilian protection.
Olmert said he had not changed his mind about the court's ruling.
"We cannot invest all the resources at our disposal in fortifying our houses, schools and work places," he said. "We are a fighting nation facing many enemies trying to defeat us and undermine our existence. First and foremost, we will do everything to maintain a victorious fighting force equipped with the most up-to-date weapons. This is our supreme mission and we will devote the best of our resources to it."