Shaked rips legal community for not defending Supreme Court

Justice Minister slams legal community refusing to defend the Supreme Court from leftist incitement towards conservative-leaning justices.

Tzvi Lev ,

Ayelet Shaked
Ayelet Shaked
photo by Noam Rivkin Fenton/Flash90

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked attacked segments of Israel's legal community for what she said was their failure to put an end to leftist incitement against the High Court of Justice.

In a hard-hitting speech at a Haifa conference before an audience that included Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut and Attorney General Avichai Mandeblit, Shaked pointed out the double standard of the legal community in regards to criticism of the High Court.

According to Shaked, senior legal figures such as ex-Supreme Court judges, former senior legal advisors, and academics quickly denounce any criticism of the nation's highest court but have remained silent in the face of incitement towards judges with a conservative worldview that have recently joined the bench.

"The legal community has always been the faithful defender of the court," said Shaked. "This community has repeatedly explained to us that the final rulings in the Supreme Court are not a guarantee of justice, that we do not even have to agree with them, and yet it is final and absolute, and that is precisely why we must respect it."

"In particular, they explained to us that we have no other court and we need to protect it in every way possible," continued Shaked.

However, Shaked said, "the plot has changed." After she appointed six judges who believed in a conservative judicial worldview, "something in the legal community's operating system has changed fundamentally. This community, which is a mixed and opinionated community that has never missed an opportunity to defend the court, even against ludicrous criticisms, no longer responds."

"The wild attacks and the sharp criticisms we have all come across recently, the harsh statement extraordinary in their intensity, have met a silent legal community," Shaked contended. "It's as if they don't care about it at all."

Shaked invoked virulent reactions among the left following the High Court’s ruling in September mandating the demolition of Khan Al Akhmar, an illegal Bedouin encampment near Jerusalem. "The legal community was kept quiet and was silent, even when a public official called to fight the decision 'with every tool at our disposal'- no one piped up," Shaked contended.

"Even when one senior legal official argued that 'the judges are partners to a war crime'- no one from the legal community opened his mouth to defend the Supreme Court," continued Shaked. "It didn't cause anyone to do what this community knows how to do so well - to defend the court."

Shaked also brought up recent attacks on Justice Alex Stein, a recently-appointed judge who infuriated large segments of the left in a slew of legal decisions. Shaked said that the subsequent attacks on Stein were "a real opportunity here to prove that the belief of the court's independence " and defend the embattled judge, something that would prove that "even those who do not agree with his opinion can express it fully, that he is independent even when he is wrong".

"I would like to see that this community mobilizes, just as it knows how to enlist in other situations, to defend the status of the court when the criticism is hurled on it in a way that undermines its foundations," concluded Shaked.