Protesters to Chief Justice: Hands off our democracy

The protest was held against the Supreme Court's decision to force Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein to hold a plenary vote, over which he has resigned.

Supreme Court President Esther Hayut (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Supreme Court President Esther Hayut
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Dozens of Israelis gathered outside the home of Chief Justice Esther Hayut on Friday to demand: Hands off our democracy.
Due to coronavirus restrictions, the protesters assembled in cars bearing Israelis flags and tooted their horns as they drove by the house. One used a loudhailer to make the group's demands heard as they passed by.
The protest was organised by Zionist group Im Tirtzu in response to a decision by the Supreme Court to order the now former Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein to convene the Knesset plenum and hold a vote on replacing him.
Protesters insisted that the decision was a clear violation of the law and a political move. They see the ruling as merely the latest in a series of undemocratic and politically biased decisions made by the court.
"The High Court justices have no shame whatsoever. They blatantly violate basic democratic principles of democracy with impunity. The time has come to end this judicial dictatorship," Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg said.
Protester Lior Cohen from Haifa agreed. "We are sick of the judges robbing us of our democracy, and Esther Hayut is the one leading the charge," he said.
Another protester, Yael Libowitz from Kiryat Ata, said: "Israel's legislative and executive branches are effectively gone. What's left is a judicial tyranny headed by the Supreme Court, which makes the laws and carries them out.
In an unprecedented move, Edelstein resigned on Wednesday as Knesset speaker, rather than abide by the High Court of Justice’s order.
“There has never been such an occurrence in this country where a leadership figure publicly and defiantly refused to uphold a court order, saying that his conscience does not allow him to carry it out,” High Court of Justice President Esther Hayut wrote in a decision late Wednesday night ordering a Knesset vote on Thursday for a new speaker.
But Edelstein has struck back, insisting he has not broken the law.
“The ruling was not based on any law," he toldThe Jerusalem Post. "I didn’t break any law; no one is claiming I broke any law. The claim is that I should obey the High Court that decided to run the Knesset instead of the speaker. It’s as simple as that. I could not do that, because it is a precedent. And, by the way, it is not just a question of a separation of powers; it is also a question of the future of the independence of the Israeli parliament.”
Herb Keinon contributed to this report.