Home  > Historical Perspectives
The politics of Migron (ISRAEL HAYOM OP-ED) Dr. Haim Shine 03/26/12)Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=1627 Israel Hayom Israel Hayom Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
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 state.

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 their judges.

Nevertheless and despite everything, we must uphold the courtís ruling.


Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY