Israel’s unresolved debate over jurisdiction between the High Court, the executive branch and the Knesset erupted again Monday in a stinging war of words between Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and High Court President Miriam Naor.
Judge Naor said she expected the bar association and legal fraternity to stand up to attacks on the state’s democratic structure, the judiciary, the high court’s authority and the panel for the selection of judges. Naor was hitting back at the wave of criticism leveled against the High Court – and, especially, the government’s challenge to last week’s ruling, which struck down a key clause in a deal with a consortium for the exploitation of Israel’s off-shore gas fields.
The justice minister retorted by affirming her “right and duty” to criticize the court when its rulings erred. In the gas case, said Shaked, the court’s action by effectively throwing out a major deal would cost the country billions. It was most unfortunate, she said, to find the court once against addressing an issue of critical political and economic importance, which had no business to be determined in any courtroom, only at the voting booth.
The argument continues to see-saw.