Reactions to the High Court decision Monday to annul key sections of the Infiltrators' Law were divided along political lines.
Jewish Home Chairman and Economics Minister Naftali Bennett said the decision reflected the degree of disconnection between the judges and the reality on the ground in southern Tel Aviv, where most of the infiltrators reside.
"In a time of security-related and economic distress, the High Court has sent an open invitation to tens of thousands of infiltrators to come to Israel. You infiltrate, you win. We must obey the rule of law, but the High Court is ehibiting excess activism and in effect is taking away authority from the government – which bears the ultimate responsibility for the security and welfare of Israel.”
Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) said that the High Court judges “broke a new record in turning their back on the state of Israel.”
"It is hard to believe that the High Court, with its own hands, is diminishing Israel's ability to defend itself from the phenomenon of infiltration. What good is the border fence when every infiltrator knows that the High Court ties the state's hands behind its back and it cannot do anything? This is a black day for the rule of law in Israel.”
Former interior minister, MK Eli Yishai (Shas), said that the High Court ruling “harms the future of the state and its citizens.”
"It is possible that law studies need to include the study of love for the nation, the state and the land,” he added acerbically.
MK Ze'ev Elkin (Likud), Chairman of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Security Committee, called the decision “scandalous.” the High Court, he said, “preferred the welfare of illegal infiltrators over the security of hundreds of thousands of law abiding citizens in Israel. The justice system cannot replace the Knesset and government in order to protect lawbreakers and detract from the Jewish nature of the state of Israel, and the security of its residents.”
MK Elkin called on the Knesset to pass a law that makes it possible to override a High Court decision annulling a law.
MK Shelly Yechimovich (Labor) said that the decision “saved Israel from the disgrace of a harsh violation of basic moral precepts and human rights.”
"It is good that the High Court ruled out the horrible idea of locking up people for a year without a legal procedure, and of the existence of an incarceration facility that does not befit enlightened regimes.”
"There are enough tools for dealing with work immigrants and refugees in ways that will provide solutions for the state of Israel and its citizens, but will also express the Zionist and Jewish ethos of responsibility for the foreigner and the refugee. This is doubly true when one takes into account that the Jewish people itself has been a victim of genocide, oppression and expulsion.”
MK Nachman Shai (Labor) lauded the High Court, which he said “smashed the arrogance of the government, which ignored basic human rights and natural justice and decided to lock up people without limit. As Rosh Hashana approaches, the High Court has strengthened our belief in a Jewish and democratic Israel.”
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.” 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."
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."