A triple revolution: Beit Shemesh, Nazareth and Grunis moves to background

There is no precedent in Israel for courts to order new elections in major cities; most electoral irregularity cases involve particular ballots or station.

By
February 12, 2014 22:58
2 minute read.
Banners demanding to overturn the recent Beit Shemesh election.

Banners demanding to overturn Beit Shemesh election 370. (photo credit: Yonah Jeremy Bob)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

It is rare that a triple revolution happens in one day.

But that is exactly what the Supreme Court and its President Asher D. Grunis did by ordering new elections in Beit Shemesh and Nazareth and with Grunis not authoring either opinion.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Tuesday’s decisions themselves were ground-breaking, as there is no precedent in Israel for courts to order new elections in major cities.

Most previous electoral irregularity cases involved particular ballots or a particular polling station and not whole large cities.

Also, neither case was clear-cut.

In the Nazareth decision, the Supreme Court overruled the lower court which had refused to order a revote.

In the Beit Shemesh case, the court upheld the lower court’s ruling, but the lower court ruling was based on a quite vulnerable general assumption that the fraud was widespread enough that it probably could have changed at least 956 votes in favor of challenger Eli Cohen – this despite the “hard” evidence of fraud being at numbers much smaller than that.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


It was also significant that the decisions were issued within the same day. The court’s unmistakable message is that ordering new elections on the bases discussed in the opinions is solid doctrine, including for future cases, and that this was not a question of a single outlier case.

The court tipped-toed away from a fourth revolution, by avoiding addressing the validity of the Jerusalem District Court’s ruling on Beit Shemesh in which it said that it was even valid to order a re-vote to uphold general democratic legitimacy, regardless of whether there is substantial proof that arithmetically the result could change.

But that might have been connected to the third revolution, or self-imposed coup: Grunis moving to the background.

It is not universal, but it is certainty traditional that the Supreme Court president, if in the majority on an game-changing issue like elections, will write the opinion for the majority.

Grunis was in the majority for both rulings, and not only did two more junior justices write the opinions, but he refrained from the modern trend of explaining why he agreed in detail, writing only a curt “I agree” in both cases.

He is known for wanting to avoid being revolutionary, but these were major rulings, and moving to the background as he did said volumes about how he wishes to be remembered, and somewhat indicates his not being in full control of the court even if he did not dissent (and this was not the first time that he marginalized himself or was marginalized).

Grunis is still president, but whether it is still his court is an open question.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Riot
August 31, 2014
Rioting resumes throughout east Jerusalem Saturday night

By DANIEL K. EISENBUD