MK Simcha Rothman
MK Simcha Rothman Israel National News

How can one tell if a court's decisions are politically motivated? One way is by comparing the ways in which the court rules on similar issues with different personalities involved. A recent ruling by Judge Yitzhak Amit of the Knesset's Central Elections Committee, to disqualify the candidacy of MK Amichai Chikli on the Likud party list, is being roundly condemned by the right-wing bloc as politically motivated. Meanwhile, Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar (National Unity-New Hope) has condemned the critique of the right-wing bloc, claiming that their criticism is likewise politically motivated.

"The chorus coming from the opposition attacking Judge Amit for his decision on the matter of Chikli is yet more proof of their systematic and brutal attempts to twist the judicial system to suit their ends and force it to issue solely rulings that serve them," Sa'ar accused.

According to the Justice Minister, who has a long history of alleging that opposition leader Netanyahu will focus primarily on his own legal woes if returned to power, the opposition "is not even concerned that the Knesset itself passed the legislation" cited by Judge Amit. Sa'ar added that, "The independence of the judiciary is in clear and immediate danger if the Netanyahu bloc gains a majority in the next Knesset."

Submitting the request to have Chikli's candidacy invalidated was the Meretz party's MK Gaby Lasky. In an interview on Kan Bet News, she explained that, "I did this because the law was being broken. The law is very clear, and its aim is to prevent people from illegally transferring from one party to another. Chikli could have resigned in time which would have enabled him to run with Likud."

Responding to Judge Amit's decision was MK Itamar Ben-Gvir, who commented that the ruling "smelled political. They never would have made such a decision regarding a left-wing candidate."

MK Simcha Rothman (Religious Zionism) also condemned Judge Amit's ruling, calling the judicial system "a political party for all intents and purposes."

In an interview with Radio Kol Hai Rothman referred to the election committee's upcoming discussion regarding the disqualification of the Arab Balad party. "Today the committee will be discussing the disqualification of Balad and Ra'am, and we already know that the result is a foregone conclusion. In the past, the committee has always found a way to rule against disqualifying even parties that openly support terrorism, but when it comes to Chikli, they take the opposite approach.

"Unfortunately, the judicial system does not act as an impartial adjudicator with no agenda of its own, but as a political party for all intents and purposes. The only difference is that they don't need to go through the tiresome procedure of getting elected."

Rothman also explained why his party chose not to submit its own request to have Balad and Ra'am disqualified: "When the playing field is so clearly uneven without even a semblance of fair play, there is no point in participating in the game."

He also cited the example of former MK Azmi Bishara who is still wanted on charges of spying for Hezbollah and who fled to Jordan to evade justice. Bishara's earlier disqualification as a Knesset candidate was overturned by the Supreme Court. "We need to fix the justice system here," Rothman said. "I no longer expect the courts to issue fair or unbiased rulings."