MK Call to 'Raze the High Court' Spark Knesset Ire

MK Motti Yogev faces condemnation, calls for criminal charges after reacting to Bet El demolition by saying Court should be 'razed.'

Shimon Cohen,

MK Motti Yogev
MK Motti Yogev
Flash 90

MKs from both the government and opposition have lined up to slam Jewish Home lawmaker Motti Yogev, for comments he made earlier Wednesday calling for the Israeli Supreme Court building to be bulldozed.

Yogev was responding to the demolition this morning of two residential buildings in the Jewish town of Bet El in Samaria, north of Jerusalem, in what activists and local community leaders say was a needless, ideologically-driven order by the Supreme Court.

"Despite the valid zoning plan and the construction permit, the High Court ruled unjustly, in a way befitting charlatans,” an angry Yogev fired.

"A D9 [bulldozer] shovel should be used against the High Court,” he added, in a statement bound to arouse howls of anger in the Left. “We, as a legislative system, will make sure to rein in the legalistic rule in this country, and the tail that wags the dog.”

Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett sought to distance himself from the remarks, telling Israel Radio Yogev should not have made the remark, and saying he had reprimanded the MK in a private conversation.

But other MKs responded far more furiously to the remarks, including Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud).

"Comments like those of MK Yogev have no place and I condemn them," Erdan said, claiming they amounted to incitement to violence.

"There are people who could interpret them as legitimization of violence towards judges or police," he added.

Calling on other MKs to similarly condemn Yogev's comments, Erdan warned that disrespecting the courts could lead to the breakdown of the rule of law and "anarchy."

MK Merav Michaeli, a senior MK in the left-wing Zionist Union party, went further still in her condemnation of the remarks, calling on Yogev to be dismissed as an MK and put on trial.

"Motti Yogev is not fitting to be a public elected official in Israel," she said. "Someone who calls to raze the Supreme Court with bulldozers needs to be suspended immediately from all his positions and stand trial for his serious incitement."

MK Issawi Frej of the far-left Meretz party also rushed to condemn Yogev.

"MK Motti Yogev reveals the true face of the Jewish Home party, as a party that wants to destroy not only the Supreme Court, but also democracy in Israel," he charged.

 Frej challenged Jewish Home's leader, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, to fire Yogev, "otherwise it will be understood that Yogev's position is the position of the Jewish Home."

Fellow far-left MK Michal Rozin went further still, calling on the Attorney General to open criminal charges against Yogev.

Rozin accused Yogev of "sedition" against the state with his comments, which she said "endanger the democratic character of the State of Israel.