High Court Bias Against Jewish Construction

Detailed stats back up claims that the Supreme Court and Chief Justice Benisch give blatant preferential treatment to left-wing associations.

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Hillel Fendel, | updated: 12:41

Supreme Court Chief Justice Dorit Beinish.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Dorit Beinish.
Israel news photo: (file)

With increasing numbers of court petitions and suits being filed against arguably illegal construction, both Arab and Jewish, in Judea and Samaria, a new and detailed report produces statistics showing that the Supreme Court treats anti-Jewish petitions significantly more favorably than anti-Arab suits.

The Regavim Association for the Preservation of State Lands - which works to protects Land of Israel territory from being taken over by hostile elements – issued a general report last week, and now provides facts and numbers to back up its conclusions. It analyzed four years of law suits by both left-wing associations against unlicensed Jewish construction (14 in number) and nationalist groups against illegal Arab building (13).

The numbers clearly show how the High Court, and Chief Justice Dorit Beinisch in particular, is biased towards the left-wing. Some findings:

  • The government was given an average of only 25 days to respond to left-wing petitions against Jewish construction, and 88 days  to respond to petitions against Arab building. In one case, the government was actually given over 20 months to respond to an anti-Arab case; without this, the average is 39 days – still 1.6 times longer than in left-wing petitions against Jewish building.
  • Ten interim restraining orders were requested against Jewish construction - and the Court complied nine times, or 90 percent. Nationalists asked for similar orders 12 times – and the Court did not order even one. 
  • Similarly, Nisi court orders were issued in 35 percent of left-wing cases, and in none of the nationalist petitions. 
  • The average number of days before the first session was held on a left-wing petition was 177 days – compared with 389, more than twice as much, for nationalist suits. 
  • The average number of court sessions held for left-wing petitions was 1.9, compared with 0.5 for nationalist suits.
“The only motive that we can provide to explain this gap,” the report states, “is an ideological-political motive, one that sees the Judea and Samaria regions as ‘occupied territory’ and not parts of the Homeland, and one that sees the State of Israel as an ‘occupying power’ and not as a nation returning to its land.

“With the Supreme Court appropriating increasingly more authority to interfere with the workings of the legislative and executive branches,” the authors state, ‘these blatant political overtones, expressed in the decisions and rulings of the judges, are cause for great concern.”

“The resulting picture presented in this report is enough to give sleepless nights to anyone who values Israeli democracy,” the authors sum up. 

Chief Justice Takes Active Role
A particularly disturbing trend, the report states, is the role played by Chief Justice Dorit Beinisch. Though the precise composition of the panel of justices hearing a case is typically explained by considerations of scheduling, rotation, efficiency, expertise, and the like – the presence or non-presence of Beinisch on the panels in these cases appears to indicate a clear trend.

Specifically, she headed the panels in eight out of 14 left-wing petitions, or 57 percent, but did not appear in a single one of the suits against illegal Arab construction. “This ratio cannot be explained in terms of chance, efficiency, or work schedules,” the authors state.

“There is only one possible explanation: In light of the great importance that [Beinisch] attributes to the petitions against Jewish settlement, and in light of her desire to be the one who sets the tone and policy in dealing with these petitions, she reserves these sessions for herself – so that she can ensure the ‘devoted care’ that suits her outlook and her attitude towards Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria. But as she ascribes no importance to the petitions against [Arab construction], she therefore leaves these to the other judges.”

The report concludes: 

“This is a policy based on a political world-view, set in motion by [Beinisch] and clearly dictating a different and discriminatory approach between Right and Left, between those who support settlements and those who oppose them… We cannot expect the public to have faith in its judges if they permit themselves to side with one political camp in such a blatant manner, to harness the judicial cart and the mandate that they were given for its benefit, and to cynically transform the rule of law into a one-way club for one side to use against the other.

"This report serves as a warning signal calling upon us to 'Stop'! before the Supreme Court loses its legitimacy, before the crack in the public’s trust becomes an unbridgeable gap, and before we fall into the abyss that will mortally wound the rule of law and create irreparable damage to Israeli democracy.”