'Not every law passed by majority is democratic'

Supreme Court Chief Justice Miriam Naor said at judicial swearing-in ceremony that 'history teaches us that majority can turn into tyranny.'

Tags: Miriam Naor
Yoel Domb ,

Swearing-in Ceremony
Swearing-in Ceremony
Mark Neiman, GPO

Twenty five new judges were sworn in at a ceremony which took place at President Rivlin's residence.

Five judges were sworn into the district courts, two to labor courts, 11 to magistrate courts, four to traffic courts and three more as senior registrars at magistrate courts.

Supreme Court Chief Judge Miriam Naor referred to Holocaust Remembrance day in her speech abd said that "Democracy cannot be identified by the rule of the majority. Not every decision or law passed by a majority is inherently democratic. History teaches us that when there is no restraining factor on the majority it can turn into a tyranny."

Naor added that the "dark age of the Nazi rule taught us that a majority which denies the minority its rights and torments the minority living in its midst is not a democratic government. Human rights are imperative for our Jewish and democratic state. Human rights are the epitome of democracy and without them- there is no democracy."

Naor stressed that "these democratic values, sanctified by the blood and freedom of the victims of tyranny and hatred, must continually be preserved. This is the task of every government. Human rights apply to all citizens of a country, but also to foreigners living among them."

President Rivlin welcomed the new judges and said that the public places its trust in the courts when they judge fairly and without any favoritism, and "do not let their objectivity lead to alienation" when dealing with individuals being judged.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said that she was moved by the ceremony's juxtapo‎sition with Holocaust Remembrance day and said it had special meaning for her.

The Movement for Governability and Democracy sharply criticized Naor, stating that "the attempt to make political use of the Holocaust and its victims to add more power and authority to the institution headed by the Chief Justice, stamping out valid decisions made by the citizens of Israel, should send a warning signal to everyone."

The movement added that Naor was mistaken in implying that human rights and democracy could prevent horrors such as the Nazi atrocities, since the Weimar republic which preceded the Nazis also established the freedom of the courts as well as basic human rights. The courts even had the right to repeal laws which contradicted the constitution. Yet despite all of this, judicial activism and human rights did not prevent the rise of Hitler and the Holocaust.

The Movement for Governability and Democracy demanded that Naor retract her "mistaken use of the Holocaust as a tool to justify judicial activism or taking power away from publicly appointed leaders."