MK Yacimovich Blasts Justice Minister's Attack on Israeli Justice System

'Something extremely dangerous is threatening Israeli society. The fight for the rule of law and Israeli democracy is fundamental,' says opposition lawmaker.

MK Shelly Yacimovich (Zionist Union) during a Knesset Education Committee meeting, December 2015.
Olivier Fitoussi

MK Shelly Yacimovich (Zionist Union) warned on Wednesday of what she said was the threat posed by the right to the rule of law and the judicial establishment in Israel.

She was speaking at a conference sponsored by Haaretz at the Max Stern Yezreel Valley College.

“The threat to the Israeli justice system and rule of law has gone up a notch,” Yacimovich said, referring to Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked’s criticism of the Supreme Court this week. Shaked had accused the court of overstepping its authority and of being “irresponsible.”

“It’s crossing a line, it’s a very brutal statement against the court,” Yacimovich said. “Finding fault with the court’s rulings, wanting to restrict it, to threaten judges, to intimidate them. And the message is conveyed by the head of the committee for appointing judges, the head of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation and the one in charge of the courts,” she said.

Yacimovich blasted Shaked for “speaking out against the separation of powers and the independence of the judicial branch,” calling her remarks “an attempt to carry out a deliberate political takeover of the justice system. Something extremely dangerous is threatening Israeli society. The fight for the rule of law and Israeli democracy is fundamental,” Yacimovich said.

Referring to MK Bezalel Smotrich’s remarks on Tuesday in support of the separation of Jewish and Arab women in hospital maternity wards, Yacimovich said: “I won’t tolerate racism. It's corrupt, it is dangerous and it contaminates society. Yesterday we saw its extreme manifestation by the racist right-wing spokesman Smotrich.”