Hendel: The legal system must be changed to restore order in the South, Galilee

Supreme Court President Esther Hayut said that attacks on the judiciary endanger democracy and judges themselves.

 A stolen pistol is seen during a Border Police raid on a Bedouin village (photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
A stolen pistol is seen during a Border Police raid on a Bedouin village
(photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel on Tuesday said that the entire legal system needs to significantly change to restore order in the Galilee and in the South.

Order in Galilee and South

Speaking to the Israel Bar Association conference in Eilat, Hendel was referring to an ongoing debate about the illegal building of structures by certain Arab groups in the Galilee and certain Bedouin groups in the South.

In addition to changing the legal system, Hendel said that it would be necessary to expand the powers of police and other security forces to take control of the situation.

The communications minister said that if the current government could not stabilize, it would be hampered on several fronts, including restoring order in the Galilee and South.

Referring to the same issue repeatedly, Hendel said that even though he is from a different party than Yamina’s Nir Orbach, they had common concerns about continuing to build new settlements in the West Bank and maintaining order in the Galilee and the South.

 Bedouin men outside the scene where an armed suspect was killed after firing at police special forces who were operating in Rahat, southern Israel, March 15, 2022 (credit: FLASH90) Bedouin men outside the scene where an armed suspect was killed after firing at police special forces who were operating in Rahat, southern Israel, March 15, 2022 (credit: FLASH90)

Hendel also slammed the government of former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying that during his term the issues of polygamy, illegal weapons and illegal building in those regions were ignored.

At the same time, Hendel said that the government should be reaching out to what he called a quiet majority of the Arab sector which he said wants to integrate fully with Israeli society.

As part of his integrating vision, he said it was important to establish a constitution that would fully integrate the Arab and haredi sectors and balance the values of democracy and Judaism within the state.

Also, he said that the country has not appreciated enough the participation of its Druze and Bedouin sectors in the IDF and must do more in this area.

New election plans

Speaking at the same conference, senior Likud MK Yuli Edelstein continued to oppose Netanyahu’s plans to initiate a new election as soon as possible.

Edelstein wants to see a new coalition uniting the Likud with right-wing parties sitting in the current government, abandoning their alliance with left-wing parties and the Islamic United Arab List (Ra’am).

Edelstein said that Netanyahu was unable to form a coalition of 61 members and that only a new leader could put the Likud back in power.

Acknowledging that the current government has made progress in a few select areas, he said its fundamental instability is rooted in the prime minister’s leadership of a small and weak party, leaving the government helpless to achieve any major long-term goals.

Attacks on judiciary 

On Monday, Supreme Court President Esther Hayut warned the conference that the recent level of attacks on the judiciary could not only endanger Israeli democracy, but also the lives of specific judges.

Speaking only a few weeks after certain opposition MKs publicly advocated blowing up or bulldozing the Supreme Court building, she said that criticism of the judiciary must remain professional, not personal, and must avoid calling for violence.

Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar said that while the judiciary always has room to improve, criticism must encourage reform, not destruction.