Benny Elon slams Barak's 'judicial dictatorship' [p. 5]

Aharon Barak's departure from the Supreme Court Thursday was used by religious MKs as an opportunity to voice caustic criticism. Barak built a "judicial dictatorship" that endangered the State of Israel, MK Benny Elon (National Union-National Religious Party) said from Singapore in an interview with Arutz 7. MK Avraham Ravitz (United Torah Judaism) called Barak the haredi community's "public enemy number one." "Without intending it, Barak personified an existential danger to our basic approach to tradition as one link in the long chain of Judaism," he said. The haredi public is particularly bitter about Barak's use of judicial activism to push for military service for haredi yeshiva students and his decisions on religious issues such as non-Orthodox conversions. In contrast, the Religious Zionist population clashed with Barak over his refusal to recognize Halacha or allow it to influence Supreme Court decisions. Barak fought legal scholars such as Menahem Elon and Nahum Rakover, a former senior Justice Ministry official, who hoped to incorporate Halacha into the Israeli law system. According to Elon, son of former Supreme Court justice Menahem Elon, "Barak adopted an activist legal approach that claimed everything was under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court." "Barak anointed himself as the 'chief rabbi' of secularism, whose elitism allowed him to ignore the majority," he added. Elon said the Supreme Court's support for the disengagement plan was one of the saddest points in Israel's history. Barak discriminated against settlers in Judea and Samaria and favored Palestinians' rights, he added. But Elon said he was hopeful for the future. "Since Barak's success and influence were dependent on his talents, exceptional political abilities and his true genius in secular law, anything that happens after he leaves will be anticlimactic," he said. "The saying, 'Everyone has a replacement,' is not true about Barak." Ravitz said Barak gave secularism a status of religion.