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Finance Minister: ‘Spendthrift’ Court Interferes in Economy

The High Court is a spendthrift panel that tries to replace the government in determining how to spend money, Finance Minister Steinitz charged.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 12/15/2009, 11:02 AM / Last Update: 12/15/2009, 10:59 AM

Flash 90

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz has charged the High Court with forcing its ideology on the government and creating ”economic anarchy” by deciding cases that involve determining how the government spends money.

Speaking Monday at the annual business conference hosted by Globes, Finance Minister Steinitz declared, "The Knesset is authorized to set economic policy, not the courts." He called the justices “spendthrifts.”

The Finance Minister added Tuesday morning that the High Court “intervenes ideologically more than most courts in the world. If it wants to intervene in determining economic preferences and management, then it must take into consideration the economic reasoning of the government just as it does in security matters.”

The High Court often has rejected petitions against freeing convicted terrorists as “goodwill” measures to bolster Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, arguing that it cannot determine security matters for the country.

However, it also has overruled Knesset legislation, basing its rulings on the “basic human rights of individuals.” Steinitz pointed out examples in which the High Court has ruled it can determine if the government has allocated enough money for certain sectors in society. "The judges have no wallet, and they are not the ones who have to worry about where the budget will come from,” he stated.