Benny Gantz (r.) and Avi Nissenkorn, in more comradely times
Benny Gantz (r.) and Avi Nissenkorn, in more comradely times Tomer Neuberg/Flash90

On Wednesday morning, Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn tendered his resignation to Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, after leaving the Blue & White party in order to join the new party being established by Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai.

In his letter to Netanyahu, Nissenkorn wrote that, “Following the request of the Alternate Prime Minister [Benny Gantz], I hereby inform you that I am resigning from my position as Justice Minister.”

In his letter to Gantz, Nissenkorn wrote that, “The attacks on the rule of law constitute neither constructive criticism nor an ideological battle. This is a personal attack conducted by a single person who desires to tighten the stranglehold on the judiciary, in order to intimidate it in light of his personal legal considerations. This fact makes it all the more necessary to be on our guard, for in this struggle for Israeli democracy, we have no other option than to prevail.”

On Tuesday, Ron Huldai announced his formation of a new political party, to be called, “The Israelis,” and Nissenkorn used the occasion of his own announcement that he would be joining to condemn what he described as the Prime Minister’s attack on the judiciary.

“The State of Israel finds itself at a critical juncture,” he said, “critical to an extent that has not been seen since the State’s establishment. During my tenure as Justice Minister and a member of the government, I devoted the last few months to doing whatever I could to oppose the Prime Minister and those close to him, and to frustrate their plans to destroy the justice system.”

He added that, “I was successful in this endeavor, and did not permit them to turn the process for making judicial appointments into a political horse-trade. They tried to sully my name but the story here is about values, not about trying to evade responsibility. What is at stake is nothing less than the survival of Israeli democracy. We are currently at the height of the battle and ranged against us is the Prime Minister who is prepared to hold the state budget hostage and ask as a ransom the heads of the legal system.”

Responding to Nissenkorn’s words, the Likud party issued a statement saying: “We wish Gantz and Huldai the best of success, at a time when Prime Minister Netanyahu is bringing millions of vaccine doses to Israel and is leading Israel out of the coronavirus crisis and bringing the country back to life.”