MK Smotrich rebukes Chief Justice: 'Don't belittle legislature'

Sharp confrontation develops between MK Betzalel Smotrich and Chief Justice Esther Hayut during hearing on Ben-Ari and Ben-Gvir appeal.

Hezki Baruch ,

Smotrich in Supreme Court: 'She treated us like a kindergarten teacher'
Smotrich in Supreme Court: 'She treated us like a kindergarten teacher'
Flash 90

In the course of the Supreme Court hearing in the appeal against the candidacies of Dr. Michael Ben-Ari and Adv. Itamar Ben-Gvir, a fierce confrontation developed between the Chief Justice and National Union Chairman MK Betzalel Smotrich.

After Hayut reprimanded MK Smotrich, "Don't shout here, this isn't the Knesset," Smotrich replied. "Don't belittle the legislature and don't disrespect Knesset Members." Hayut replied to Smotrich, "This isn't the Knesset, there are different legal procedures here."

Smotrich replied, "I'm happy for the clarification." Hayut replied, "I need clarify for you nothing." In response, Smotrich said to her, "Don't belittle the Knesset and the public."

Afterwards, Chief Justice Hayut also chastised Knesset Member Stav Shafir of the Labor Party, who tried to speak: "You won't speak here, it isn't the Knesset."

At this stage, Justice Fogelman joined Chief Justice Hayut, "This isn't anarchy here; what you're doing here is unprecedented, the politicians will not speak here."

After the discussion, Smotrch reflected on what he'd just witnessed and said, "You needed to be here to see the disgusting contempt and condescension of the judges towards the Knesset Members present here in the hearing, from both sides of the political fence. They simply despise us and what we represent. And it's in the nature of man to reciprocate other's attitudes towards them.

"What's under discussion here is the very composition of the Knesset in the next term, and involvement of Knesset Members in this debate is the most legitimate thing in the world. It's also legitimate for the judges to decide not to let MKs talk so as not to turn the debate into a political election platform, but there's a way to relate to a Knesset member who's in the middle of a sentence. They wouldn't treat someone like that if they had a modicum of respect. And that's nothing new," Smotrich added.