Itamar Ben Gvir
Itamar Ben GvirYonatan Sindel/Flash90

On Wednesday Israel's Supreme Court unanimously rejected the petition filed against the appointment of Itamar Ben Gvir as Minister of National Security.

The verdict, reached in a unanimous ruling by justices Yitzhak Amit, Noam Sohlberg and Yechiel Kasher, determined that the court has no jurisdiction to intervene in the appointment and that the petition should be rejected.

In his ruling, Justice Yitzhak Amit mentioned, "The laws concerning the appointment of candidates for public positions, and, among others, the authority to appoint government ministers, is essentially a political authority; the discretion given to the prime minister to appointment ministers is broad; and the scope of the court's intervention in such decisions is reduced to cases where the appointment may result in severe and serious damage to the status of government institutions and the public's trust in them."

Justice Amit mentioned that Ben Gvir's past includes convictions that are directly and indirectly related to the violation of civil order, while the Minister of National Security is the figure who is responsible for ensuring law and civil order.

In addition to this, Justice Amit noted, "Some of Ben Gvir's statements are harsh and should not be voiced by an elected official. This does not deem fit for a minister in Israel. Even so, in view of the time that has passed since the offenses were committed and their statute of limitations, as well as Ben Gvir's young age at the time of offenses and the failure to prosecute him for many years, it was determined that Minister Ben Gvir’s criminal record and statements should be given a low weight in balancing all considerations."

Justice Amit stated, "Ben Gvir's appointment to the position of Minister of National Security is not without difficulties. However, considering the balance of all considerations and the broad discretion given to the Prime Minister in such decisions – it was ruled that this is not an extremely unreasonable appointment, the court has no jurisdiction to intervene and the petition should be dismissed."

Justice Solberg agreed with the ruling that the petition should be rejected and emphasized, "Currently, most court judges believe that it is time to reduce the limit of the Reasonableness Clause." He added, "The petition can serve as an adequate precedent for 'self-restraint' on the part of the court, in the spirit of the harsh criticism directed at the Supreme Court over the years, regarding the use of the Reasonableness Clause in the appointment and dismissal of ministers."

Justice Sohlberg took advantage of the ruling to call on his fellow judges to exercise self-restraint when using the Reasonableness Clause, which was the basis of this petition.

"The majority of the judges of this court currently believe that we would do well to reduce the limitations of the Reasonableness Clause, even if this is only a matter of 'self-restraint'; a judicial limitation that we, as the judges, take upon ourselves. This is the opinion of those who were in the past, the minority judges regarding reasonableness, and now – a position that reflects the opinion of the majority. Several of those who were in the majority on this matter agree with this opinion," he said.

“Since a petition has been submitted, seeking to invoke the Reasonableness Clause to order the Prime Minister to dismiss a government minister should be used as a refreshing precedent. We must demarcate the boundaries of the Reasonableness Clause and declare: 'No more!' Even if the ship of Israeli justice has methodically and consistently sailed towards the 'activist' pole over the last 40 years, it is still possible to slightly divert the course of the ship, bit by bit, to a different, more conservative direction, without having to involve any 'revolution' (Paragraph 182 of my opinion on the matter of reasonableness). Rejection of a petition, such as the one before us, may be a first step in the right direction. 'A small step for humanity, a big step for civil law'; So be it," Sohlberg concluded.