Levin to Arutz Sheva:
'Supreme Court is not above the Knesset or the people'

Tourism Minister criticizes Attorney General's conduct regarding the PM, calls on Netanyahu to leave the main portfolios in the Likud.

Eliran Aharon ,

Yair Levin
Yair Levin
Hillel Maeir/TPS

Minister Yariv Levin (Likud) thinks that after the next elections, if the Likud heads the next government, the central ministerial portfolios must be left in the hands of the party.

In a conversation with Arutz Sheva, Levin discussed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s statement that he will strive to leave the education portfolio in the hands of his party.

"Everything depends in the end on the political situation that has been created. The Prime Minister said that in terms of his priorities, he wants to leave the education portfolio in the hands of the Likud," said Levin.

"When I look at the last term,” he continued, “I do not think there is a prime minister in the world in a situation such as Netanyahu’s, when his party does not hold the defense, finance, education, justice or the interior ministry. This situation severely harms the ability of the government to function and the Prime Minister to lead the way. I hope that this time the Likud will get enough power to hold the key portfolios."

Levin did not hide his firm opinion about the Likud’s direct competitor, saying, "The Blue and White party is leftist. The fact is that it has some fig leaves that may belong to the right, but the ideology is not strong for them because they joined with people who are on the left. Even when we look at partners for a Blue and White-led government, we are talking about the Labor Party, Meretz and the Arab parties. A true rightist does not go with such a party and does not become a part of it, even if it will eventually allow him to be elected to the Knesset."

Asked whether the fact that there are different opinions in Blue White is not good for the Likud, he replied, "I think that there is more of a common denominator than there is a separation. Most of the Blue and White people are leftists who believe in uprooting communities, harming the settlement enterprise, supported the nuclear agreement with Iran and carry the same weakness of the left that we have known all these years."

Minister Levin said that in his opinion, the authority to disqualify parties should be left to the court because if it is left in the political arena, it may be abused.

At the same time, he has harsh criticism of the Supreme Court. "The problem is that the court in its rulings completely ignores the clear provisions of the law that state that anyone who supports terrorism cannot run for the Knesset, and thus the court authorizes the Arab parties' running for the Knesset. In essence, it opens an opening for them that does not exist in any democratic country to sit in the parliament, use their status to call for boycotts of Israel and to lead decisions against it in the international arena."

And Levin’s criticism does not end there. “The situation in which the court places itself above the people, the Knesset and the government is improper and anti-democratic. In the last term, despite the fact that the Justice Minister made efforts to change things, in many ways there was a deterioration in areas that we did not believe were possible."

"I say clearly: The fact that the name is 'the Supreme Court' does not mean that it is above the Knesset, the government or the people. Those who sit there, unfortunately, do not know the most basic democratic concepts," Levin declared.

He also does not like the conduct of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit regarding Netanyahu's cases. "I think that the Attorney General made a grave mistake. I heard that he is announcing in advance how much time would be allotted for a hearing. There has never been such intervention in the election campaign. All these investigations deal with matters that are at the most ethical. Matters that are precedents not only in Israel but also in the world.”

Minister Levin, who is currently Minister of Tourism, aspires to a more significant role in the next government. "I do not hide my desire to be Justice Minister and I have dealt with this issue over the years. I think that what needs to be done in the judicial system is not corrections on the margins. It needs deeper and more fundamental changes. The place where the judicial system currently stands is not good."

He expressed regret over the fact that small right-wing parties do not withdraw from the race. "One of the unfortunate things that is happening on the right is the splitting up into small parties. On this matter, it is worthwhile to learn from the left which united the lines. There is no doubt that this is a great threat to us."

"I think that the unification of the right-wing parties was a very good move, because they all would have crashed without it. The splits are irresponsible and they do not help with anything. A party of 4-5 seats has limited influence, and this creates many problems - first and foremost for the Prime Minister's ability to form a government, and also for the Likud, which will not be the largest party,” the minister said.

He also insists that there has been no freeze of any kind in construction in Judea and Samaria in recent years. "It is not right to talk about a ‘mini freeze’. There is no construction of the unlimited scale we would like, but there is a huge improvement. There is large-scale construction, which is done in agreement with the American administration, and that is a political achievement that should not be taken lightly."

Watch the full interview with Minister Levin (in Hebrew):