Shaked to Aharon Barak: Knesset traumatized by judicial activism

Outgoing Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked speaks at a Nationality Law seminar with former Supreme Court president Barak in the audience.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Shaked and Barak.
Shaked and Barak.
Credit: Courtesy

Outgoing Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (New Right) spoke on Friday as part of a Nationality Law seminar of the "Fathers and Founders" association. The event was attended by former Supreme Court president Aharon Barak.

Shaked told Barak that "the tension between national and universal values led to the enactment of the Nation-State Law. We felt that democracy is well anchored in the Basic Law of Human Dignity and Liberty, but nationalism is not well-anchored."

"The most obvious case was the great debate in the Supreme Court held over the Citizenship Law. It was the Cheshin camp opposite the Barak camp. The debate between the two camps symbolizes, more than anything, the trigger for the Nationality Law."

"It was at the time of the Second Intifada when there were constant suicide bombers. The security forces saw that many Arab citizens of Israel who carried out attacks were the sons of those who came here as a result of family reunification. Consequently, the State of Israel stopped granting citizenship to Palestinian Authority Arabs who marry Israeli Arabs. And it's clear that this is a serious violation of individual rights."

"There is no one who doesn't think there should be equal rights for the individual. But in the situation that was created, the granting of citizenship had to be stopped. And there was a serious debate. I was told that this was an argument that tore the Supreme Court into two camps. Cheshin was quoted after his retirement as saying: 'Justice Aharon Barak is ready for 30 to 50 people to be blown up as long as there are human rights. I'm not prepared for this. He thinks like that, I think otherwise. To my delight, I was part of the majority.'"

"This was the trigger for the Nationality Law. My complaint to the State is that when they defended the Citizenship Law, they argued only about the security issues. They didn't bring up the nationalism issues - that the Citizenship Law prevented a creeping right of return."

"There is no shame in saying that we want to preserve the Jewish majority of the State of Israel and to prevent a creeping right of return through marriage. When I listened to what Barak said about the Nationality Law, I agree that the law states the obvious, and not anything controversial. I had no problem even if they added Jewish and Democratic. In the end, people in the Knesset thought otherwise."

Shaked added that "the biggest controversy in the Nationality Law is equality. Anyone who was in the Knesset during the enactment of the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty said that there were drafts with the word 'equality' and the haredim wouldn't agree to include it. Their fear was if they would add the word 'equality,' the Supreme Court would order that all citizens have to be drafted."

"You spoke about the fear that the court will be afraid of expanding national equality. It's necessary to understand that the legislators are traumatized, rightly, as a result of the constitutional revolution, and are very afraid to give constitutional tools to the Supreme Court. It is only because of this fear that the word 'equality' was not inserted. I am the first justice minister to build a court in an Arab city, in Taibeh, and I strongly believe in co-existence with Israeli Arabs. The fear of the word equality is the result of the legislators' trauma as a result of the interpretation of the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty."