Bennett: Take Power Away from Lawyers

In new campaign video, Naftali Bennett says reforms are needed to restore the primacy of the country's legislative branch.

Moshe Cohen ,

Supporters under Bennett billboard
Supporters under Bennett billboard

While several politicians – notably Yair Lapid and Avigdor Liberman – have called for reforms in the way Israel is governed, including setting up an American-style district representative system and limiting the number of ministers a government can have, Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett says that a more fundamental change in Israel's political system is needed – a reform that will restore the primacy of the legislative branch, which has been usurped by the legal branch.

“The real problem in Israeli governance is that above the political tier in Israel there is another tier – that of the legal system,” Bennett said in his latest video of a series explaining his party's views on election issues. Comparing government to a private business, Bennett said that “it's the job of a legal advisor to advise, but it is the CEO who makes the decisions.

“But in government, if the legal adviser recommends against a particular course of action, it cannot be done,” added Bennett. “Why is this?”

The reason, he said, was because the advisor – the Attorney General – does not believe that a decision to implement a policy change he opposes could be defended in court, particularly the High Court, which has final say on constitutional matters.

“In a business, the legal adviser would give his educated opinion and I, as the CEO, would make my decision, with the legal professional expected to defend my actions as best as he can. But in Israel, the advisor not only prevents me from making that decision – I am not even allowed to hire an external advisor to back my decision.

“This creates a situation where the advisers who are not members of the tier that is in charge in effect determine what happens in this country, even during war time,” Bennett added.

The solution, he said, is to remove some of the authority from the legal advisors, and to require them to defend government decisions in court. “The legislators need to be in charge of ruling, and the advisors need to be in charge of advising.” Under the current situation, he added, many of Israel's important infrastructure projects, like the National Water Carrier, would never have been built.

“Only in this way will we be able to solve the most difficult challenges facing Israel,” he added.