Supreme Court
Supreme CourtYossi Zamir/POOL

Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin (Likud) has sent a letter to the President of the Supreme Court, Justice Esther Hayut, in advance of the Court’s hearing, due to commence today, of petitions against the Nationality Law. In his letter, Levin warns against judicial interference with basic legislation that he says would be invalid. “The Knesset is the legislative body … the Supreme Court derives its authority from the Knesset and not the reverse,” he writes.

“The very fact that a hearing is taking place in the Supreme Court on matters of basic laws is a contravention of the most basic democratic principles of the sovereign power of the people and the separation between powers,” he adds.

Levin went further and informed Hayut that the Knesset would not accept the Court’s intervention on the matter. “Any decision reached by the Court that constitutes intervention in the workings of the Knesset will lack all authority and all validity. This is an attempt to impose the worldview of the Supreme Court Justices as if they were the ones running the country.”

The Attorney-General, Avichai Mandelblit, has already expressed a strong opinion against the Supreme Court’s intervention on the Nationality Law, noting that the petitioners against it have not presented a legal basis for their position even though what they are demanding is the overturning of a Basic Law – and therefore, their petitions should be rejected.

Mandelblit has also noted that, “The Nationality Law enshrines the basic components of the national identity of the State of Israel in law, which constitutes a very significant constitutional message. It gives a legal interpretation of the vision of the State as the nation-state of the Jewish People, without detracting from the individual rights held by each and every person in the State of Israel, regardless of their religion or national origin.”

Holding an opposing position, Meretz chairman MK Tamar Zandberg claims that, “This is a racist and discriminatory law that has no place in the State of Israel or any respectable democracy. It eliminates the principle of equality in favor of one of Jewish nationalism and supremacy, and tramples on the most basic rights of millions of citizens. It should be erased from the statute book.”