In the wake of a High Court ruling that imposed a limit on the state’s authority to detain illegal immigrants, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked told a conference of the Israel Bar Association on Tuesday that the judiciary must cease placing individual rights above the rights of the Jewish majority in Israel.
Just the day before, the Court imposed a 60-day limit on the state’s detention of illegal migrants who have resisted deportation, which was greeted by statements from Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Interior Minister Rabbi Aryeh Deri, Shaked and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan calling for a new law to provide the state with the necessary tools to deport the migrants, even against their will.
Shaked charged that “national challenges have become a legal blind spot” that are swept away in the concern for individual rights. The court’s rulings do not treat matters of demography and the Jewish majority “as values that should be taken into consideration.”
In the eyes of the High Court, Shaked said, “Zionism has become a legal dead zone. Questions about it are irrelevant. National challenges are a legal blind spot, which, according to the accepted view today, should not be taken into account, certainly not to decide when questions are raised concerning the individual.
“The question of the Jewish majority is never relevant. It is irrelevant when we talk about African infiltrators who settled in south Tel Aviv and established a city within a city while pushing aside the neighborhood’s residents, and the response of the Israeli legal system is repeated disenabling of the law that seeks to deal with the phenomenon.”
Shaked accused the Israeli judiciary of operating in a “dream,” adopting a “utopian and universal worldview sanctifying individual rights to an extreme degree and ceasing to take part in the struggle for Israel’s very existence.”
During her speech, Shaked was “momentarily interrupted when some of the lawyers in the audience shouted that Israel was an apartheid state,” Haaretz reported. Ynet estimated the interruption to be “several minutes.”
The Justice Minister was followed at the podium by Court President Miriam Naor, who defended Monday’s ruling and asserted that the state had backtracked on its own policy.
Naor revealed that on October 9, 2016, in a closed-door session, the state’s lawyer informed the judges that its arrangement with third-party African countries to receive deported migrants was contingent on their voluntary cooperation.
“These were the representations of the state’s representative and not our decision,” Naor said, according to The Jerusalem Post. The court, she argued, had no choice but to reaffirm the state’s own policy of voluntary deportation, which it said had been part of its agreement with the third-party countries.