MKs praise, criticize Beinisch on final day (JERUSALEM POST) By JOANNA PARASZCZUK 02/28/12)
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As Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch stepped down from her post
on Tuesday, amid a moving ceremony in Jerusalem, politicians across
the spectrum marked the end of a judicial era.
While those on the left and in the center were quick to laud
Beinisch´s achievements during her six years as leader of the
country´s most important legal institution, those on the right were
equally speedy to criticize her and to praise her replacement, the
more conservative Justice Asher Dan Grunis.
During her term as Supreme Court President, Beinisch has drawn fire
from the Right because of her High Court of Justice rulings to
overturn certain Knesset-passed laws - the most recent being the "Tal
Law" - and to demolish illegal outpost buildings in the West Bank.
Labor Party chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich praised retiring Beinisch´s
accomplishments on Tuesday morning, saying that her work had been "a
rare combination of statism and protecting individual rights."
"The public is taking leave of an important leader, who was able to
work, with determination and courage, in the face of pressure from
government leaders," said Yacimovich.
The Labor Party chairwoman said that Beinisch had left a legacy of
important legal rulings, including banning corporal punishment
against children and overturning a law against the privatization of
"From the Labor Party, I wish the outgoing president health and long
life, and that we will continue to work in the public sphere in order
to transform Israeli society into one that is more just and
responsible," she added.
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni spoke with Beinisch on Tuesday, and
praised her for being the first woman in Israeli history to hold the
role of Supreme Court President, an achievement Livni described as
"We worked together when I was Justice Minister, and we had our
differences," Livni recalled, adding that Beinisch had faced a
different sort of struggle in her role as Supreme Court President.
"It is the struggle over what sort of country we will leave to our
children," the Kadima leader said. "The Supreme Court represents our
country´s constitutional values against a group that desires to
impose Halacha (Jewish religious law) on society, as a source of
Livni told Beinisch that this battle "was not a simple one for the
head of the judiciary".
"Yet you stood at the forefront of this struggle for our country´s
democratic values, and for that you deserve great credit," she
Kadima MK Yohanan Plesner praised the Beinisch-led Supreme Court
for "maintaining its independence in the light of the unprecedented
attacks emanating from those who lack a democratic tradition."
Plesner added that Beinisch "was able to maintain appropriate
balances in the relationship between the authorities, and to avoid
excessive intervention in Knesset and government decisions."
However, the Kadima MK continued, citing the recent ruling to
overturn the Tal Law, Beinisch had proved that she had the "power and
the legitimacy" to make such decisions when required.
"I believe that those who will replace Beinisch will be wise enough
to preserve and strengthen the position of this important institution
in Israeli democracy, and not to fear the inevitable dark attacks and
agitation that are likely to continue in the future," he added.
Politicians on the Right, particularly those who have been vocal in
criticizing the Supreme Court, were less complimentary about
Beinisch´s term in office.
Eretz Israel Shelanu chairman Baruch Mazel said before Tuesday´s
farewell ceremony in the Supreme Court that he was "arriving with a
bottle of wine in his hand to toast Beinisch´s retirement from her
throne of judgement."
MK Yaakov Katz (National Union) slammed Beinisch as having "taken the
law into her own hands".
Katz, who tabled the controversial ´Grunis Law´ passed earlier this
year, which paved the way for the more conservative Justice Asher Dan
Grunis to replace Beinisch, said the retiring Supreme Court President
had displayed a "radical left ideology" of which her rulings
were "merely a tool".
Using an archery metaphor, Katz said that Beinisch had "marked out a
target with an arrow and drawn her judicial circle around it."
"After war enacted the Grunis Law, our next step will be to legislate
that the High Court of Justice will not annul laws, and immediately
after that we´re going to reinstate the laws they retroactively
canceled," he said. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 02/28/12)
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