A massive convoy set out Tuesday in protest over the Supreme Court of Justice’s demand that Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein convene the Knesset to vote on a new Speaker by Wednesday.
According to the protesters, the Supreme Court crossed a red line by unlawfully interfering in the Knesset’s agenda and by giving an order in direct contravention to the Basic Law of the Knesset.
The convoy, comprised of more than 100 Israeli flag-bearing cars led by the Zionist watchdog Im Tirtzu, set out from the Latrun Interchange and ended at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem.
Due to the current coronavirus crisis, the organizers stated that the protest was coordinated with the police and adhered to the Health Ministry regulations.
Last week, nine protesters were arrested during an anti-Netanyahu protest outside the Knesset for violating the Health Ministry regulations.
“We’re sick and tired of the Supreme Court stealing our democracy,” said Avner Saadia, one of the protesters. “We are sick of voting for our elected officials, and finding out that the Supreme Court is really the one in charge.”
Nechama Miller, another protester, added: “The Supreme Court is trampling on basic democratic values like the separation of powers.”
Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg, stated: “The Supreme Court justices have turned themselves into all-powerful rulers who can act however and whenever they please.”
“Time after time, the Supreme Court acts as a political actor with utter disregard for Israeli democracy, which endangers the future of the State of Israel. The time has come to end this judicial dictatorship.”
The protest format was a replica of the one employed by hundreds of left-wing demonstrators who, twice in the last week, have driven to Jerusalem in a convoy of cars waving black flags to voice support for the High Court while blasting Likud efforts to shutter the Knesset.
“The High Court is intervening in the work of the Knesset,” some of the protesters chanted. “Shame! We voted for Bibi, not [High Court chief Justice] Esther Hayut.”
The demonstrators also called on Edelstein not to heed the High Court decision, which ordered him to hold a vote by Wednesday.
“We’ll burn down the entire country before we let you steal it,” yelled a protester in front of the Supreme Court building quoted by the Haaretz newspaper. She called the top judges “a bunch of leftists.”
“The continued refusal to allow the Knesset to vote on the election of a permanent speaker is undermining the foundations of the democratic process,” the court’s president, Justice Esther Hayut, wrote in a damning indictment of Edelstein’s behavior.
“It clearly harms the status of the Knesset as an independent authority [while also harming] the process of government transition, the more so as the days pass since the inauguration of the 23rd Knesset.
“Therefore,” she went on, “there is no escaping the conclusion that in the circumstances created, this is one of those exceptional cases where this court is required to intervene to prevent a violation of our parliamentary system.”
The Knesset “is not a cheerleader for the government,” she wrote, dismissing Edelstein’s argument that the election of a permanent speaker required clarity over the nature of the incoming government. The reverse was true, she noted. “The Knesset is sovereign.”
Header: The building of the Supreme Court of Israel