The High Court struck down key sections of the Infiltrators Law that made it possible to detain illegal immigrants without trial for up to one year. About 2,000 illegal infiltrators from Eritrea and Sudan currently being held at the Holot detention facility in the Negev must be set free in three months' time.
The decision by a nine-judge panel is a victory for leftist “human rights” organizations and a stinging defeat for residents of southern Tel Aviv and other areas hard hit by the crime wave that the infiltrators are responsible for.
Interior Minister Gideon Saar (Likud) said that “the High Court decision is mistaken and leaves Israel without tools for dealing with the phenomenon of illegal immigration.”
Saar – who recently announced that he is leaving politics – added that it may be necessary to limit the High Court's authority regarding illegal immigration by amending the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Freedom.
He noted that the decision is the second time in a single year that the High Court intervened in legislation regarding infiltrators, which was approved by large majorities in two different Knessets. The previous Infiltrator Law was completely annulled by the High Court. Following this, the present law was passed, and now the court has effectively annulled it as well.
MK Danny Danon (Likud) said that “The High Court justices preferred the intersts of the infiltrators to that of the residents of southern Tel Aviv. The busloads of immigrants from Holot should be spread among the kibbutzim and not sent to southern Tel Aviv again. This is a decision that is disconnnected from the painful realities of southern Tel Aviv, and all of the neighborhoods that are flooded with 'refugees.'”
The kibbutzim are socialist or formerly socialist communities that are largely inhabited by socioeconomically strong populations.
MK Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) reacted harshly to the decision. “Today, the sky fell on hundreds of thousands of Israel's citizens. They feel abandoned and beaten. For the second time, the amendment to the Infiltrators Law has been struck down. The High Court has harmed the security of the residents of the working class neighborhoods, and trampled on the legislative branch.
"The separation of branches of government is the life's breath of democracy. The High Court seizes authority it does not have, time and time again, and enlarges its span f control. It is time for a change.
"The Knesset is sovereign in the state of Israel and it is my intention to take action to strengthen its status vis-a-vis the court, by adding a clause in the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, which will define the balance of power between the Knesset and the Supreme Court, as Rabin did in his time.
"In addition, I am taking action to effect a meaningful change in the way judges are selected, so that we can move from a system that clones Supreme Court judges by letting them bring their friends aboard, to a balance between activism and conservatism.”