A new campaign launched by the Zionist watchdog organization Im Tirtzu takes aim at the political activism of Israel's High Court of Justice ahead of the court's controversial hearing on Tuesday about the Nation-State Law.
The Nation-State Law is one of Israel's 14 Basic Laws that have super-legal status and serve as Israel's de facto constitution.
Despite the law's quasi-constitutional status, the High Court will be convening to discuss its legitimacy – the first time the Court has ever considered striking down a Basic Law.
The new Im Tirtzu campaign includes a large billboard on Tel-Aviv's Ayalon Highway calling to balance the High Court; a new website titled "Know the Judge" that provides information on controversial rulings issued by justices; newspaper advertisements; and online banners.
According to Im Tirtzu, the goal of the campaign is to generate public discourse surrounding the problematic conduct of the High Court's judicial activism, which manifests via the striking down of laws and its intervention in government decisions on policy, security and social matters.
The High Court has faced sharp criticism from both sides of the political aisle over its judicial activism. Former justice ministers Haim Ramon (Kadima) and Daniel Friedmann (Shinui) have been among the high-profile left-wing personalities to criticize the High Court.
Earlier this month, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit criticized the High Court's decision to convene the hearing on the Nation-State Law.
Im Tirtzu emphasized that at a time when the country's focus is on COVID-19 and the teetering Knesset, it is critical that this issue will not be allowed to slip unnoticed under the radar.
Last week, following a letter sent by Im Tirtzu's Legal Division, High Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut in a rare move announced that the court would be live streaming the hearing.
"A strong and independent judicial branch is a fundamental aspect of democracy," said Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg. "At the same time, in recent years the High Court has been acting as a supreme authority that stands above the country's elected officials and decides on matters over which it has no jurisdiction. This conduct is a blatant violation of the separation of powers and is a fatal blow to democracy."
"What is even more frightening," continued Peleg, "is that the High Court's political activism mostly occurs with issues pertaining to the Jewish character of the State of Israel and the state's war on terrorism."
"If Israel wants to continue to exist as a Jewish and democratic state, the public and its elected officials need to work immediately to balance the court."