The new Knesset speaker, Likud MK Yariv Levin, has taken office with a clear vision to limit the might of Israel’s judicial system, saying that judges “need to recalculate their trajectory.”
Levin's predecessor in the post, fellow Likud MK Yuli Edelstein, refused to adhere to a court order to reconvene parliament during the coronavirus crisis, sparking a row that led to his resignation.
Blue & White vetoed the return of Edelstein to the speaker’s chair during coalition negotiations, paving the way for Levin, who has long expressed his discontent with the judicial system’s authority.
"The judicial system needs to be set clear boundaries,” said Levin in an interview to Ynet's sister publication Yedioth Ahronoth.
“The unbearable ease with which it can intervene in the Knesset’s work and instruct this institution as if it were inferior to the judiciary is unacceptable,” he said.
One of the most crucial issues that may see High Court intervention is the coalition agreement between Likud and Blue & White, which allows Benjamin Netanyahu to use the title alternate prime minister once he leaves the post in October 2018 to make way for Benny Gantz.
The High Court has already hinted that this clause might be revisited at a later date, prompting Levin to threaten to plunge the country into its fourth round of elections since April 2019.
"If the High Court intervenes in the status of the alternate prime minister and prime minister, it will bring down the government and lead to immediate elections,” said Levin.
“I would accept the ruling, the same as any other citizen who is bound to accept court rulings, nobody is arguing that. But I am certain that the [coalition] agreement will fall apart if it comes to this,” the speaker said.
Despite his claim that he would adhere to a court ruling, Levin also warned that if the judiciary did indeed intervene in Knesset proceedings, he would do everything in his power to safeguard parliamentary authority.
“I really hope that maybe after reading this interview [the judges] realize that what was will not be again. I don't want a clash between authorities; it is of no use to anyone. I believe the Supreme Court justices are people with good intentions, who love this country as much as I do,” Levin said.
“But I will say this: If we are required to stand [to preserve] the dignity and the status of the Knesset, we will do so with fierce determination.”