Chief Justice Hayut: Don't drag courts into election battles

Judiciary has met the corona challenge

Supreme Court President Esther Hayut  (photo credit: COURTESY COURT SPOX)
Supreme Court President Esther Hayut
(photo credit: COURTESY COURT SPOX)
Supreme Court President Esther Hayut on Thursday urged the political class not to drag the judiciary into election season battles, as she was speaking to a new forum of judges being sworn into office.
She said that, “in the midst of the political chaos and instability in governance which have been a part of our lives for an extended period, I permit myself to say that despite the repeated attempts to uproot the foundations on which we [the judiciary] are built, the judicial branch has remained an island of stability and a space for respectful, proper and apolitical dialogue.”
Hayut continued: “To anyone who stubbornly persists to build political capital on our backs, I would suggest to them first to look carefully at their own situation [to find something to reform]. The legal establishment should be left out of political games – and attempts to drag it and its judges onto the political field of play are dangerous.”
It was unclear if the Supreme Court president was pushing back against general attacks on the judiciary for carrying out the trial of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for weighing in on the Nation-State Law and other Basic Law issues, or recent specific reports that Netanyahu lawyer Ariel Roth might have been trying to spy on Netanyahu-case judges and their families to record them saying something which might show bias against the prime minister.
In addition, Hayut thanked outgoing Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn for his defense of the legal establishment during his term in office, dating back to May.
Nissenkorn announced his resignation on Wednesday, which takes 48 hours to take effect.
Another issue which Hayut addressed before the new judges was the coronavirus.
According to the Supreme Court president, the judiciary never shut its doors throughout the corona crisis.
She said that even as adjustments were made for fewer in-person hearings in favor of video conferences, and with fewer people in a courtroom at the same time, the courts remained open throughout and would continue to do so.
Moreover, Hayut said that the new judges would help the judiciary keep up with its caseload, given that their appointments had been delayed by three prior rounds of elections since December 2018.