Israel’s High Court Is in Cahoots With the Right

When did our justices last offer aid to the weak, hope to the desperate? When did the ‘judges in Jerusalem’ last come to their aid?

David Vakhnin

When the bride of justice enters her new ministry, worry will consume us. Evil toward the court and all its loyal supporters has been decreed.

Soon the new minister will legislate the clause that lets the Knesset bypass the High Court of Justice and nullify the Basic Law on Human Dignity and Freedom. She won’t rest until she hands the Judicial Appointments Committee over to the politicians. And her hand is poised to raise the “Jewish” and lower the “democratic.”

Every decent citizen will arise to save the High Court from the government that is about to emasculate it. It will be the last battle in the war between two worlds, at least two worlds. Serving and retired justices, former and current presidents will lend their voices in harsh warning, and we will snort after them in great fury: Don’t touch my judges.

How many divisions does the High Court have? We are its troops, a band of brothers to its aid.

But now, at the moment of truth, heretical thoughts are attacking me. What’s happening that has weakened my mind and sapped my drive to take to the streets? What’s happening that I’m refusing to enlist this time?

I wanted to go back and examine all the rulings that came out under the High Court this year. I searched high and low for a single worthy ruling — and couldn’t find one. “Judicial activism” has surrendered to the politicians, hiding behind formalistic justifications. We hope for justice and get procedure.

In this court, when was the last time strength was offered to the tired, aid to the weak, hope to the desperate? When did the “judges in Jerusalem” last come to their aid? Petitions are rejected one after the other; it’s not clear why nonprofit groups still beat on the gates of the temple of justice to demand the honor of human and civil rights.

Was it not the High Court that rejected the petition against the “anti-Boycott Law,” which takes away my democratic right/duty to call for a boycott of the settlements and their products and turns me into a criminal? Has it not rejected all the petitions against the admission-committee laws, which decide for Arab citizens where they may reside?

This is the same High Court, it seems, that not long ago approved the blacklists of adulterers and adulteresses, exempted the ultra-Orthodox from the punishments of the core curriculum, and will quickly approve the “Nation-State Law.”

Under the auspices of the High Court, Palestinian homes are demolished, Palestinians are removed from the homes they have lived in for years. To them the court applies the “Nakba Law,” whose historic force will never end.

We demolish once again, expel once again — expel and also inherit. As if all our homes filled with infants had been built with permits; as if no home was ever built by the Jewish underground on Palestinian land.

No, we are forbidden to suspect honorable justices. The assumption is that they will issue demolition orders against the outposts of theft and savagery too, but this law will have to wait for the Messiah. Will Amona be uprooted or not? And Ofra, which has expanded its borders?

Have all the prisoners of the Holot “detention facility” been set free? The High Court ruled — who is not in awe? “And moreover I saw under the sun, in the place of justice, that wickedness was there; and in the place of righteousness, that wickedness was there,” it says in Ecclesiastes — or maybe just apathy and insensitivity.

There is no need for draconian laws that spit fire and brimstone and singe the robes of those on the bench. The work of Benjamin Netanyahu and Naftali Bennett, of Yariv Levin and Ayelet Shaked is already being done by the justices. Fear of the government and the Knesset has stricken them, and when a court relinquishes its honor and standing, its honor is relinquished and erased.

The calls to battle will not bring us to the barricades this time. We will wait until we receive a sign in Silwan and Beit Yonatan, in Susya or Umm al-Hiran.

We will wait until we are sure that not every abomination is approved by the top court. Until then, even those who seek the court as their last refuge won’t take off their shoes.