Israeli Chief Justice Rebuffs Ministers’ ‘Unprecedented’ Attack on Law Enforcement

Supreme Court President Esther Hayut responded Wednesday to the harsh criticism leveled against the judicial system by senior Likud party figures – including by Justice Minister Amir Ohana and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.

"These days, which are unprecedented in the history of our government, oblige us all to stand firm and labor fearlessly, responsibly and with discretion,” Hayut said.

Justice Minister Amir Ohana said on Tuesday, regarding the court cases against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, that there was a “prosecution within the prosecution” that is destroying political and public careers.

At a ceremony to mark the beginning of the judicial year in Nazareth, Hayut said she speaks as "someone entrusted with the rule of law, with safeguarding it and reinforcing its position." She added that “Politicization of the justice system could completely undermine its foundations as an objective and independent system and hurt the confidence that the public placed in the judicial authority.”

Hayut acknowledged that none are immune to criticism, and that improvements can always be made. “That is an inseparable part of an essential, open, living and breathing democracy," she said. "But we must beware of remarks expected to be legitimate criticism that in fact bring about a process that conceals the delegitimization of institutions and of loyal public servants, without whom we would all have difficulty maintaining the rule of law."