Justice Melcer
Justice Melcer Erez Bit

Vice-President of the High Court of Justice, Justice Hanan Melcer, who also serves as chairman of the 22nd Knesset Central Elections Committee, stated that "a court is not supposed to be democratic because it is not elected by the people. It serves the people, but it is not elected by them. It's a misunderstanding of how a court should be."

Justice Melcer spoke at the AIS conference held Monday at the Kinneret Academic College, a conference in which leading experts and researchers from Israel and around the world participate in the field of Israeli studies.

Justice Melcer also claimed in his speech that "we are the weakest part of the system, but we are still independent. There must be checks and balances, and whoever criticizes us wants us to be weaker."

He addressed the attempts to pass an override clause to allow the Knesset to pass legislation which the High Court has struck down. "The override clause exists in one country in the world - in Canada, but it has never been used. We say that the residents of Israel and the conditions in Israel are different, In Canada they did not use it, but in Israel, if I am not sure it will be that way."

As for the criticisms directed at the legal system, Melcer replied: "I have shown and proved that we (the judicial system) are fine if we are criticized by the Left and the Right." He added that the criticism that the legal system only represented a small and elitist group was "perhaps correct in the past."

"I can say one thing: just as the elections are fundamental to every democracy, so to are the courts and the entire judicial system. They must be independent."