I am fed up with the slanted and biased interference of the so-called judicial system of Israel in the political process. Here are three very recent examples:
1. A Committee of the Knesset, the elected representatives of the Israeli people, considered the case of two people standing for election who had been accused of being extremists, who had done and said things that were considered beyond the realm of acceptable behavior. They were Haneen Zoabi, who is an Arab Member of the Knesset (MK) for the Balad (Communist) Party, who had been on the Mavi Marmara, the Turkish ship that tried to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza, and has said many things that make it clear that she represents the Palestinian people and not Israel. She has shown herself to be totally against the existence of the State of Israel and hence a traitor and not fit to be a representative in the Israeli Parliament. The other person was Baruch Marzel who is a right wing extremist, who opposes any compromise with the Palestinian Arabs and supports their expulsion from the Land that he considers the sacred land of the Jewish people. It was fitting that two such extremists from opposite ends of the political spectrum were being considered by the Committee. Both were judged to be ineligible to become MK’s in the current election and were voted out, Zoabi by 27:6 and Marzel by 17:16. But, then they appealed the verdict to the Supreme Court and the Court reversed the decision of the Knesset Committee and decided that they could both run and be representatives in the Knesset, against the will of the elected representatives of the people.
2. Two weeks before the Israeli Election on March 17, the Comptroller General’s Report on the expenses of the Prime Minister’s household is being brought forward for potential criminal charges. As far as I know this Report was initiated by reports in the media of excessive costs and misuse of government funds in the PM’s official residence in Jerusalem and his private home in Caesarea (although the costs have actually been halved since the previous PM). One of these reports was the so-called “bottlegate”, namely that Sara Netanyahu kept the refunds on bottles bought by Government funds for official use. The amount turned out to be trivial (ca. NIS 4,000 or $1,000) and it was announced that Sara had in fact returned this amount to the burser. But, this item was not included in the Report, and other items were seized on by Netanyahu’s opponents, who have requested that the Atty. General Yehuda Weinstein take legal action against the Netanyahus. One of those giving evidence against the PM and his wife is a former disgruntled housekeeper of the PM, who has had charges against him dropped for his cooperation. The Police Commissioner is now deciding whether or not to transfer the information collected to the Atty. Gen., two weeks before the election. Could this be considered fair, whoever is the PM?
3. In recent years there has been a very noted bias in selection of Israel Prize winners. A predominantly left-wing panel has chosen mostly left-wing winners, including some who have made notably propagandistic anti-Israel films in Israel. There was public pressure to do something about this institutionalized bias and PM Netanyahu grabbed the bull by the horns and disqualified three of the judges on the Israel Prize Committees, two for literature and one for film. Immediately there was a negative reaction as one might expect, and several of the other judges resigned as well as several of the potential recipients. Then Attorney General Weinstein ruled that the PM cannot interfere in the process so close to an election, it amounts to political activity. So the PM re-instated the questionable panel members. But, they are still making a great hullabaloo about the fact that the PM is interfering in a process that anyone with the least amount of sense can see is predictably biased from the start. If PM Netanyahu is re-elected I hope he will re-visit this issue and try to make sure that such panels are at least balanced in future.