The politics of Migron (ISRAEL HAYOM OP-ED) Dr. Haim Shine 03/26/12)
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The citizens of Israel have no choice but to abide by Supreme Court
judgements, even if they are wrong and manifestly unjust. If people
didnít fear the court system, they would surely raise their hands
against their brothers, especially in such a divided and polarized
society as this one. Compliance with the rules of democracy is a
cornerstone of Israelís existence as both a Jewish and a democratic
For many years, there has been growing alienation between Israeli
citizens and the Supreme Court. Many Israelis, especially from the
Right and the religious sectors, justifiably sense that the Supreme
Court serves a liberal leftist agenda. This agenda is accepted by
only a small minority of Israeli society. This agenda has not
succeeded in mustering a majority in the Knesset, so it uses the
Supreme Court to promote itself.
Israelís Supreme Court has adopted a clear and conspicuous line of
postmodernism, alienated from the Zionist and Jewish values upon
which the state was founded. It is a strategic choice to turn Israel
from a Jewish state to a state of all of its citizens, a state whose
Jewish character is summed up in the speaking of Hebrew.
In order to pursue this ideology, the Supreme Court has created a
dangerous friction between itself and both the Knesset and the
government. A spirit of judicial activism has led the court to
intervene in security, ethical and economic matters, ignoring the
basic fact that the Supreme Court is not an elected body. Knesset
members, in contrast, are public emissaries, elected to promote the
interests of their constituents, according to the democratic
principle of majority rule.
To better explain my claim, I want to provide two recent examples.
For several decades, since the establishment of the state, Israeli
society has engaged in a difficult debate about drafting yeshiva
students into the IDF. Haredi leaders posit that Torah study is a
necessary defensive weapon for ensuring the continuation of Jewish
existence. The secular state views draft dodgers as not carrying
their share of societyís burden. The two arguments start from
different assumptions and run parallel to each other, making the
difference almost impossible to resolve.
In 2002 the Knesset enacted the Tal Law, named after a former Supreme
Court judge, designed to encourage the ultra-Orthodox to serve in the
military. Any intelligent person realizes that what happened is
nuanced and should therefore be treated as gently as possible. The
Supreme Court recently ruled the Tal Law unconstitutional, thereby
placing the government, the Knesset and the court itself in an
impossible situation. Any fair-minded person understands that the
Supreme Court is not the forum for working out complex social issues.
The next example is Migron, an outpost established on a hilltop in
the Binyamin region. A few dozen upstanding and idealistic families
have lived there for many years in caravans, out of the belief that
they are fulfilling the Zionist values of security and settlement.
When they first built the community, they received financial
assistance from the state of Israel. At a certain point, the Supreme
Court decided that they were occupying privately-owned Arab land.
Surprisingly, no Palestinian has yet proven ownership of the land.
But the Supreme Court decided that we are obligated to evacuate the
residents. The Israeli government, understanding how harsh evacuation
can be, especially after the evacuation of Gush Katif in 2005,
reached an agreement with the residents to move them to an
alternative location. The Supreme Court opposed the agreement between
the government and the residents and set a date for the evacuation
within three months. This decision is especially puzzling given the
fact that the Supreme Court has yet to decide who owns the land.
The Supreme Courtís problematic conduct is viewed by most of the
public as overstepping its jurisdiction into the political sphere.
Such intervention is likely to damage the courtís status. We can only
hope that the justices refrain from complaining about the publicís
negative attitude toward their ruling. They have earned this attitude
through their own honest efforts. Woe to the nation who have to judge
Nevertheless and despite everything, we must uphold the courtís
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