If the current government acts against a ruling of the High Court of Justice, security forces must listen to the judiciary over the executive branch, former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Yoram Cohen said on Wednesday.
“If the government ignores the High Court, then the heads of the defense establishment all grew up within the system, they were educated with a commitment to the state. They respect the independence of the court and of the attorney-general,” Cohen said at the Institute for National Security Studies conference at Tel Aviv University.
“They understand the game of action and omission and the rules of the game. They are bound to the authority of the government on day-to-day issues, but they will not break the law based on orders from the political echelon,” adding this would be “forbidden.”
"They understand the game of action and omission and the rules of the game. They are bound to the authority of the government on day-to-day issues, but they will not break the law based on orders from the political echelon."Yoram Cohen
Cohen added, “If the directing minister or the Knesset does something and the court says it’s illegal, they need to listen to the High Court. This is not connected to one government or another or any single specific issue. The court interprets and explains the laws.”
Cohen may support administrative detention
The former Shin Bet chief also said he would support using administrative detention against Jews in the West Bank who commit violence against Palestinians and destabilize the area, if the violent actors are dangerous but cannot be criminally indicted.
“I sent Jews to administrative detention” after the Jewish terror attack on Palestinian at Duma in 2015, he noted, saying he also approved “interrogating Jewish terrorists like we interrogate Palestinian terrorists.”