Landau strikes back at Beinisch

National infrastructure minister says Supreme Court president crossed line into politics.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
December 4, 2011 00:44
2 minute read.
Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch

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

 
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National Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau (Israel Beiteinu) slammed Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch on Friday night for her comments a day earlier in which she accused politicians, MKs and cabinet ministers of conducting a deliberate campaign of incitement and delegitimization against her court.

Beinisch did not refer to any specific politician in her speech, but in a conversation with reporters afterward, she singled out Landau, who in a recent speech to the Knesset, attacked the High Court for “being made of one skin, no pluralism, just Ashkenazi elitism and a leftist worldview.

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Speaking to Channel 2’s newsmagazine Ulpan Shishi (“Friday Studio”), Landau called Beinisch’s statements “horrible and very unfortunate.”

He said it was Beinisch who had crossed red lines and that she had to decide whether she wanted to be a politician or a judge.

“I spoke in the Knesset out of respect for Israeli democracy and fear for the deteriorating stature of the High Court,” he said. “She is entering the political court. If she wants to enter politics, she can run and get elected like me. It’s forbidden for her to deal with politics.”

Fellow Israel Beiteinu member, Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov, defended him in a speech at a Beersheba cultural event.



“Those who blame others should look in the mirror when they wake up in the morning. The courts were harmed because they became political and dealt with political issues, and she did this,” Meseznikov said.

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin of the Likud called Beinisch on Friday morning to complain about her comments.

She told him that she did not intend to refer to the entire Knesset as an institution but rather to a few MKs and ministers whose statements about the High Court and its judges have crossed the line from criticism to incitement.

Rivlin told her his view that the court’s stature must be maintained and handle disputes (with the Knesset) in a way that respects both branches of government. He suggested anchoring the separation of powers in law and said he would work on a legislative solution with Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman.

MK Yariv Levin (Likud), who is a former vice chairman of the Israeli Bar Association and initiated the legislation that offended Beinisch, expressed confidence that he and his Knesset colleagues would emerge victorious from their battle with her.

“The attempts by the Supreme Court president to silence the criticism and to deter the critics are doomed to failure,” Levin said. “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.”

On the Left, Labor Party leader Shelly Yacimovich called Beinisch’s statement “a rare warning sign” that she hoped her colleagues on the Right would take seriously.

“There are among us politicians, some of whom have senior influential posts, who are ready to topple the rule of law by agitating and inciting the public,” Yacimovich said.

Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.

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