'Critique aimed at individuals, not entire Knesset'

Supreme Court president clarifies intent in delegitimization remark; Likud MKs: Beinisch "forgot public chose Knesset representatives."

December 2, 2011 09:49
1 minute read.
Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch

Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch 311. (photo credit: Dudi Vaknin / Pool)


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In telephone conversation with Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin on Friday morning, Supreme Court President Beinisch clarified that she had been referring to individual politicians, and not the Knesset as a whole, in an earlier statement criticizing Knesset politicians.

Beinisch accused politicians, Knesset members and ministers on Thursday of conducting a deliberate campaign of incitement and delegitimization against the country's most important legal institution.

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Referring to a series of bills that seek to change the way justices are appointed to the Supreme Court, Beinisch said that for the past several years, politicians had tried to "damage the Supreme Court, to reduce its powers, and prevent it from carrying out its functions, and thus to undermine its ability to protect the country's democratic values."

Rivlin responded that it is of utmost importance that disagreements between the legislative and judicial branches be managed in a respectful manner.

Several Likud members shot back on Friday against Beinisch's comments criticizing Knesset ministers and members.

"President Beinisch exaggerated," Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud) said of her statement. "The judicial branch and legislative branch are obligated to respect each other and one can't spill over into the other's area."

Coalition head Ze'ev Elkin (Likud) expressed "regret that the Supreme Court president exposed a lack of understanding of 'what is democracy,' and forgot that the public chose its representatives to the Knesset in order to legislate."

MK Yariv Levin (Likud) responded to Beinisch's remarks on Thursday, saying, "The attempts by the Supreme Court president to silence the criticism and to deter the critics are doomed to failure."

He added, "Criticism of the Supreme Court and about the dark deals made to select justices is much-needed, and its purpose is to strengthen Israeli democracy. Whoever does not understand that this is our duty, does not know what democracy is."

Elkin and Levin were the initiators of the controversial judicial selection reform bill.

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