Tourism Minister Yariv Levin (Likud) on Tuesday slammed the Supreme Court for forcing Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein to hold a vote on choosing his replacement, by Wednesday at 5:00p.m.
In an interview with Reshet Kan Bet, Levin explained that the Supreme Court "is acting as if it owns the country," thereby harming the basics of Israel's democracy, and the separation of the various authorities, by taking over the Knesset and attempting to manage its functioning.
In Israel, there are three separate parts of government: The executive authority, which carries out the laws, the judicial authority (the court system), and the legislative authority (the Knesset). Supreme importance is placed on the separation of these three branches of government.
Levin also emphasized that Edelstein is acting within his authority, and just like the Knesset cannot force the Supreme Court to hold a specific hearing on a given day, the opposite is also not possible.
"The Knesset Speaker said very clearly that the meeting will take place as it states in the protocol, meaning, until it is brought for government approval. That is the reason this arrangement was written in the protocol, and this is exactly the authority of the Knesset Speaker. The Supreme Court cannot take over the Knesset," he said.
"Were the Supreme Court's Chief Justice to come to the Knesset building together with the court guards, and come into the meeting, take the Speaker's gavel, and run the meeting, I assume there would be a huge uproar, and everyone would understand what is happening.
"With all due respect to Chief Justice [Esther] Hayut, she needs to involve herself in what the court has authority over. She has no authority over how the Knesset is managed. The court cannot manage the Knesset and replace the Knesset Speaker. Unfortunately, the one who is leading us to this [anarchy] is the court."
Edelstein added: "We need to see things as they are. Five judges, who are chosen by the 'bring a friend' method, without a protocol, in a way that's not really appropriate, are sitting there and thinking that they can run everything. This is not a country which has a court. It's unfortunately a country where the court acts as if the entire country belongs to it."