The fate of democracy in the hands of the High Court (2)

Air megalomania: after the threats to the Supreme Court and the Broadcasting Corporation, another Caesareans symbol - the Shufuni wing

עיתון בין אויבים

A newspaper among enemies

The Supreme Court will soon decide whether to prevent Derai from being appointed as a minister in the Netanyahu government. Our assessment last week was that the court would prevent Derai from becoming a minister. Our opinion was that the move would be through the disqualification of the amendment to the basic government law. Before the decision process regarding the law, we estimated that the court would suggest that Deri follow the legal path set in the law and contact the chairman of the election commission so that he can determine if there is any dishonor in Deri's conviction for a tax offense. Our assessment stands, and its reasons appeared in the article. In the High Court in Deri's case, it is not possible to assess whether the Supreme Court will indeed disqualify Deri from serving as a minister. The only sharp position on behalf of the judiciary regarding this question that was heard in court is the position of the legal advisor to the government, Beharev Miara, who stated that Deri's appointment as a minister is extremely unlikely. This unequivocal position increased the attempts to reduce the legal advisor to the government, and to imply that she was appointed to a position that she is not talented and experienced enough to fulfill. The Legal Adviser to the Government did not respond to the defamations, probably out of her great talent and rich experience in fulfilling a senior legal position in the public service.

On the eve of the High Court hearing, Justice Minister Levin published the changes he wants to introduce in the balance between the court and the government and the Knesset. The hasty publication, with zero public discussion, is considered by many, including Aharon Barak in an interview with News 12, as a direct threat to the Supreme Court on the eve of the hearing on Aryeh Deri, as if to say, if Deri is ousted, the government has other options. Judge Barak suggested Minister Levin meet and try to convince each other about reforming the judicial system. In an interview with Dana Weiss, Levin rudely replied to Barak's request, "Where was he all these years when without authority, without regard for anyone, in a series of judgments, he simply ran over entire communities, took powers into his own hands and damaged democracy? Did he consult anyone? Did he ask someone? Did he even tell anyone? Exercises of wasting time, it won't work on me"

Minister Levin's publication on the eve of the High Court hearing, which is interpreted as a threat to the court, is in addition to the first threat made at the end of November by Likud officials to close the Public Broadcasting Corporation; did the first threat against the corporation moderate the press report of the corporation's journalists against the government of Ben Gvir Netanyahu? We don't know the answer to that. Does this threat frighten public broadcasting journalists, forcing them even now to moderate their reports? We don't know the answer to that either, or this is a matter for an academic research question that has the power to compare reports over a period. Will Levin's threat to the court moderate the Supreme Court's decision regarding Deri? We don't know the answer to that either, but we, along with many in Israel and the world, will try to assess the answer after the High Court decision. As mentioned, our current assessment, which was published here last week, still stands, according to which the Supreme Court will reject Deri's appointment as minister.

Does the Netanyahu government intend to destroy the democratic regime in Israel? There is no real importance to such an assessment, since the move itself of breaking the balance between the executive, legislative, and judicial authorities, as well as the threat to the broadcasting corporation, and all this without public discussion and compromise, is of crucial importance, since it can lead to a chain of moves that will turn Israel into an interim regime that is not completely democratic but still not tyrannical, and then, on a smooth slope to an abyss whose end is hard to estimate. In any case, there are already symbols of a dictatorial-extroverted-ceremonial-flaunting government, the first is the implicit threat to journalists, the second is the implicit threat to the Supreme Court, and the third symbol is the enormous plane that the Prime Minister ordered to start its engines again immediately upon taking office. The plane, which only world powers are equipped with, will cost close to 800 million shekels, and it will propel the Israeli man who is essentially closest to the emperor, Benjamin Netanyahu, to a status that is closest to an imperial status, and is closest to the emperorship, since the end of the era of the Israeli monarchies of Beit Rishon and Sheni.