Dr. Aviel Sheyin-StevensThe writer holds Jur.D. and CPA degrees, is a registered patent attorney based in Florida, USA.
Many feel there is a lack of leadership in Israel to deal effectively with issues that endanger public security. The Israeli government is often blamed, but in many aspects of security it does not have the authority.
The justices of the Supreme Court and the attorney general are the real leaders in Israel. They can subvert government authority, and often do.
In Israel, the legislature is not sovereign to legislate, and the executive lacks actual control to execute the instructions of the legislature. The Supreme Court has seized the government’s power to enforce border controls, and to determine policies on commercial matters, consumer protection, education, health, incarceration, etc. It has also seized the Israel Lands Authority’s power to determine policies for allotting state lands.
The Supreme Court is not only a super-legislature, but it arrogates to itself the power to prescribe the morality, security and the military defense of the Jewish people!
The Supreme Court controls the Israel Defense Force (the IDF) and has seized the IDF’s power to make operational decisions. It recognizes legal standing for practically every claimant against the IDF, no matter how remote. Its rulings constitute a severe limitation on what the military could do and how to do it: countermand military orders, devise rules of engagement, decide military policy, rule on military tactics and ethics, rule on the appointment and promotion of officers, etc.
The Supreme Court’s post-Zionist and socialist position dominates every aspect of governance and legislation, accomplished through the attorney general and his army of legal advisers in every government ministry, national authority and the military.
The attorney general has significant power over the government and has repeatedly terminated the prime minister's preferred appointments to top security positions.
The attorney general prevents the government from determining national policy. He stops the government from appointing senior officials and prevents the government from adopting policies that he does not like. He has repeatedly blocked the government from implementing sentencing guidelines for rock-throwers, knife-stabbers and shooters. So, the government is unable to deal effectively with issues that endanger public security.
In 2015, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu asked the then attorney general, Yehuda Weinstein, to pursue “aggressively” legal avenues to close Arab stalls on Hagai Street in Jerusalem's Old City. The street was the scene of several attacks; one in which two people were murdered, and the wife of one of the deceased, Adelle Banita-Bennett, and their two-year-old son were also injured. As Banita-Bennett attempted to escape after the stabbing began, she got no help from Arabs in the area. Due to video camera coverage in Jerusalem's Old City, the identities of the Arabs who laughed, kicked, and hit her as she staggered through the streets are known to authorities. They should have been brought to trial for incitement, failing to offer assistance, and accomplices in an attempted murder.
Weinstein was not about supporting the government’s position on security issues, or allowing the government to determine national policy. He made it clear to the IDF and the Israel Police that he was their real leader. He could refuse to defend high-ranking security officers if the officers were challenged before the Supreme Court.
In 2011, Weinstein forced the government to cancel Major-General Yoav Galant’s appointment to serve as IDF Chief of General Staff by refusing to defend the appointment before the Supreme Court when challenged by an environmental group. In 2015, he terminated Brigadier-General Hirsch’s appointment as inspector-general of Israeli Police.
For the past several years, the IDF’s General Staff has refused to support the government’s position on many security issues: Iran, Gaza, current terrorist attacks, etc.
Netanyahu wanted the IDF to attack Iran's nuclear sites but the General Staff refused, claiming that ties to the United States are more important than preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power.
Netanyahu cannot deploy troops by himself. He needs the General Staff for its implementation. Besides, he cannot appoint the generals he wants to the General Staff without the consent of the attorney general.
The IDF’s General Staff convened immediately after Operation Protective Edge ended and begun contemplating plans on how to rebuild Gaza, under the false notion that it has the ability to influence Palestinians and make them useful partners for peace.
Since the cease-fire came into force, Hamas has diverted the assistance it received from Israel and from abroad to rebuild its military capacity to harm Israel.
Israel’s generals have been in dispute with elected leaders on the nature of the current terrorist attacks. The dispute was revealed when the generals used military reporters to criticize Netanyahu for blaming Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas for the violence.
The generals insist that Abbas is blameless. They argued that he tried to calm the situation, and Israel should support him. This could be the reason for Netanyahu’s barring government ministers and members of the Knesset from visiting the Temple Mount.
This indicated that Netanyahu accepted Abbas’s premise that it is wrong for Jews to exercise their right to visit Judaism’s holiest site.
The generals’ rationale for defending Abbas could be due to their continued cooperation in the Territories with Palestinian security forces under Abbas’s control, even during the current wave of Palestinian terror. Abbas’s forces cooperate with the IDF in capturing terrorists from Hamas and other groups that are not subordinate to Abbas.
The generals are ignoring that Abbas is duplicitous. On the one hand, he orders his forces to cooperate with IDF officers when they fight terrorist cells from Hamas and other groups not loyal to him. While on the other hand, he works with those same terrorist forces, incites them to attack, and rewards them for doing so.
In October 2015, a stabbing attack in Petah Tikvah that injured one person could have been deadlier were it not for the courageous actions of Renaddi Kasau, who tackled the knife-wielding attacker without any thought for his own safety. The victim of the stabbing had been sitting next to Kasau at a bus stop outside the city's mall, when the attacker ran towards them with a knife drawn, screaming "Allahu Akbar!" After first running away from the attacker, Kasau turned around and pursued him -- as the attacker plunged his knife into his victim. People from the mall helped Kasau to catch the attacker.
In these situations around the world, how you act in the first few moments generally determines the outcome. You have to move fast before a terrorist takes control, before he has figured out the landscape and how to make good his escape. Some have called for Israelis to be more vigilant, and for those that can lawfully carry guns to do so. Some actions are more likely than others to end the terror sooner, with less bloodshed. It is right to promote such actions.
The current attacks are not merely criminal acts and are not about individual rights, or lack thereof. They are about collective rights. The collective right of Jews to national sovereignty is under assault by the rival collective right of Arabs. If the Jews do not prevail in that struggle, they will lose their right to self-determination as a collective, as well as the individual rights of all the inhabitants of Israel, Jews and non-Jews alike.
Israel was not established to be a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural liberal democracy. It was established to be the state of the Jewish people. As stated in the Declaration of Independence: to give expression to the “natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate... in their own sovereign state.” Israel will not remain Jewish if it does not retain its status as the nation-state of Jews, with the exclusive source of sovereignty being the Jewish people -- a Jewish state where minorities live with equal rights.
The attackers are using violence and intimidation in the pursuit of a political aim: Israel’s destruction. The full extent of the law should be applied to them. Terrorists do not have “democratic” rights to homes, free university education, priority medical care, etc. Concessions awarded to terrorists tend to increase the frequency of terrorist attacks. Arab Members of Knesset also do not have a “democratic” right to fraternize with the enemy, much less to call for Israeli Arabs to rise against their state or its citizens.
In February 2016, Avichai Mandelblit was appointed Attorney General of Israel. The Knesset should publicly commit the courts and the new attorney general to help fight terrorism and to uphold the principles of the founding of the State of Israel. Furthermore, the rules of engagement of the security forces should not be prescribed by the Supreme Court. The rules should be devised by the government, per the instructions of the Knesset.
The knife-stabbers and shooters are terrorists: They want to wipe Israel off the map. Those that engage in terrorism, encourage it or support it should have no place in Israel.
Dr. Sheyin-Stevens is a Registered Patent Attorney based in Florida, USA. He earned his Doctorate in Law from the University of Miami.