Supreme court chief justice in belligerent speech: 'Incitement'

'Criticism by elected officials of the judges sometimes borders on incitement,' says Esther Hayut at event marking 70 years of judiciary.

Orli Harari ,

Esther Hayut
Esther Hayut
Esti Dazyobov/TPS

Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut spoke at a conference to mark the 70th anniversary of the Israeli judicial system and claimed that politicians' criticism of the Supreme Court sometimes borders on real incitement.

At the event, held at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, Hayut said, "There are those who argue that the judicial authority cuts itself off from the people. Really? Indeed, if we examine the Israeli Democracy Index published at the end of 2017, we find that the Supreme Court enjoys the highest level of trust among the institutions of government in Israel, after the army and the president of the state. "

The chief justice of the Supreme Court claimed that "Unfortunately, lately we have seen that some people find intolerable the conduct of the system as independent from the other authorities," Hayut said.

"They even went so far as to describe it as anti-democratic, anti-Zionist, and even as a judicial dictatorship that should be crushed - exactly so."

"Anyone who aims to harm the independence of the judiciary will find himself mortally damaging democratic rule in Israel, because one of the basic conditions for the existence of a genuine democracy that upholds liberal-constitutional values ​​is the existence of a judicial system independent of the other authorities."

Hayut said that "Democracy is the rule of the people, but this description does not in any way exhaust the essence of democracy. In order that the rule of the masses does not become the tyranny of the masses, we must ensure the protection of the rule of law and the rights of the individual, especially the rights of the minority living among us, grounded, among other things, in Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty."

According to Hayut, "When expressions are made at us, the judges, that are far from being practical and respectful, it is possible to expect that there would be those who would condemn them in the name of statehood in order to defend it from insult and shame in the face of such statements. Unfortunately, such condemnation is late in coming, despite the fact that expressions sometimes border on real incitement, including expressions coming from elected officials.”