MK Benny Begin, Who is Supreme?

The writer explains his view of the reason for MK Benny Begin's solution for the threatened outposts and antagonism for the Outpost Law.

David Rubin,

                                                                          

In a true system of Checks and Balances, the legislature doesn’t take orders from the Supreme Court.

In a series of public statements, Minister without Portfolio Benny Begin (Likud) has come out strongly against what has become known as the Outposts Bill, which seeks to normalize the status of threatened communities in Judea and Samaria through legislative action in the Knesset.

Sponsored by Welfare and Social Services Minister Zevulun Orlev (Jewish Home), the bill would forbid the issuance of demolition or eviction orders for communities that have at least twenty families and have stood for four years - instructing courts to instead order monetary compensation or alternative land-grants, in cases where land ownership can be proven.

 These past few weeks, Minister Begin has vehemently opposed the proposed legislation and has instead been working to achieve compromises that would transfer such communities as Ramat Gilad, Migron, and Givat Assaf to nearby locations, in the hope that these compromises would be acceptable to the seemingly all-powerful Supreme Court, the judicial body that declared the lands “Arab-owned”, despite the fact that no Arab owner has come forth with a deed of ownership.

Benny Begin has long and correctly been considered a friend of the Jewish settlement movement in Judea, Samaria, and eastern Jerusalem, but he has recently proven himself to be a greater friend of Israel’s Supreme Court, and a very dogmatic one at that.

In a truly democratic system of laws, the legislative body makes the laws and, when necessary, the courts interpret the laws to issue legal rulings. However, they don’t make the laws. That is the job of the parliamentary body, the Knesset. The Supreme Court’s interpretation is by no means “Torah from Sinai”. It is the legislature’s prerogative to create new legislation to serve justice for Israel’s citizens, thus creating a new legal reality. As an experienced legislator, Begin should be well aware of that fact.

The new communities in Israel’s heartland have been victims of an absurd Supreme Court ruling, according to which the lands on which they have stood for quite a few years with unofficial government approval, have arbitrarily been declared “Arab land”, despite the fact that no proof has been provided of said ownership. This has created an unjust reality, whereby families have been victimized after having been encouraged to live there for many years by their elected officials at the national level.

The Knesset, as the citizens’ elected representative, has an obligation to change this cruel reality through new legislation. The Outposts Bill is designed to protect the rights of the thousands of Israeli citizens who have been living in the the so-called outposts for several years. These residents exemplify the meaning of Zionist self-sacrifice by living in no-frills caravans in these vibrant young communities that sadly have been thrown into limbo.

The Outposts Bill expresses the true meaning of democracy. A government elected by the people and for the people doesn’t take dictatorial orders from an unelected, self-selecting judicial body, not matter how supreme its relationship to its lower courts.

Benny Begin, who often defends the Supreme Court, claiming to speak in the name of democracy, should know better.



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