President Shimon Peres on Sunday backed Supreme Court President Dorit Beinish in her dispute with right-wing politicians, saying "Any attempt to take a swipe at democracy puts it in danger."
Speaking at a memorial ceremony marking the 38th anniversary of David Ben-Gurion's death, Peres said the former prime minister supported separation of powers. "Politicians will not judge, and judges will not participate in politics. He (Ben-Gurion) resigned because these principles were breached, and believed there was no substitute for the democratic system," the president said.
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Peres' comments came on the heels of Beinish's attack on Israel's politicians. In a particularly combative speech last week, the Supreme Court president said elected figures were looking to influence the character of the court through legislation and declarations against serving judges.
During the ceremony, Peres also addressed the developments in the Arab world, namely the rise to power of Islamists in Egypt and the violent crackdown on protests against Syrian leader Bashar Assad. "Zealous religious clerics – the fanatic and the violent, are trying to delay the arrival of the Arab Spring and dash the hopes of the young people. As usual, they use the hatred of Israel as an excuse for their failings, as though what happened in Tunisia, Syria, Libya and Yemen has anything to do with Israel.
"Exactly because of this we must present the real picture with resolve and urgency," the president continued. "We must translate our desire for peace – and our willingness to pay a price for it - into action. The two states for two peoples paradigm involves painful concessions, but we must not let this solution gather dust and remain strictly on paper.
"Despite the mounting dangers around us, we are at the peak of our might. This is the time to resume the peace process with the Palestinians. Past experience has shown us that delaying (the negotiations) will not necessarily make things easier for us – it may bring about new dangers," said the president.
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