(January 10, 2019 / JNS) “In the case of the prime minister, no one has the authority to consider whether or not to fire him. A court will need to develop a doctrine of a personal obligation to resign. The court might possibly obligate the Knesset to pass a vote of no confidence in the prime minister. If the ruling is not honored, it could be the basis for a civil war.”
Re-read that dreadful text, which ran on Wednesday without causing any controversy. These scandalous comments were quoted in an interview in The Marker with Professor Barak Medina of the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Medina was also in the running to be appointed to the Supreme Court.
His remarks teach us about the evil winds blowing through the halls of his faculty and in the Supreme Court. He gives the impression that if it were up to him or his friends, the right to vote or be elected would have been taken from us long ago, and the Supreme Court crowned as both a legislative and executive authority. Plato already suggested that in his book, which advocated a philosopher king, an enlightened dictator of reason, or in the case of Media, unreason.
Who are we, the unimportant, compared to a prominent philosopher like Barak Medina, who wants the court to “develop a doctrine of personal obligation” (against the existing law!), like the spokesman of an elite tech firm developing a program to control the citizenry. Indeed, what are the laws of Israel to us if he knows better than we do what should be done, and can establish a “state within a state,” and steal our sovereignty as citizens to decide our future and our fate?
But things are even worse than that because Medina thinks the court should “obligate the Knesset to pass a no-confidence vote.” What does this even mean, you enlightened dictator?Where does the court draw its authority, if not from us, the citizens, via the Knesset?
I’ll ask for the thousandth time: Do judges have any greater understanding of philosophy, morality, Judaism, diplomacy, security, economics or politics than anyone else? Even if they were geniuses, which they aren’t, they have no authority to decide our future. Only the public at large does, through debate and voting.
We came here from the four corners of the world with a lot of opinions and endless disagreements. How can we decide where the Zionist ship will sail? Only through the Knesset, which represents us all. That is where the rules of the game are decided.
But the rules were abandoned long ago by former Chief Justice Aharon Barak, when he decided that it is not the letter of the law but its spirit that matters. And who decides on the spirit of the law, legislators? Heaven forbid! The judge. And he does so in accordance with the values he brought with him to the bench, which could be controversial.
What was Medina actually saying—that if the Knesset doesn’t listen to the Supreme Court, which would require it to pass a no-confidence vote against its will and against the clearly stated law, “it could be the basis for a civil war?” That’s insanity! Where are the soldiers, Mr. Medina, who will fight to enslave their brothers and sisters to the whims of a small group who has decided that it knows better than the rest of us what values are worthy?
Dror Eydar has been appointed Israel’s next ambassador to Italy.