In a special discussion held Monday afternoon in the Knesset, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked blasts the opposition, prompting its MKs to slam the minister for her conduct regarding the appointment of the next police commissioner, and her approach towards the court system.
The opposition titled the discussion as "Minister of Justice's attack on High Court of Justice."
The High Court of Justice (HCJ) is widely seen in Israel as a liberal bastion that acts as a check and balance against right-wing governments. However, Shaked has been promoting more conservative judges to take the bench.
"You have never been fans of the court, you really want it to be a submissive body rather than an independent and strong one. As long as it serves you, it is the center of justice, the minute it rules in a slightly different way, you are ready to burn the place, no less," Shaked attacked the opposition.
In response, Yesh Atid Chairman MK Yair Lapid questioned the government's motives behind the decision to replace the next police commissioner.
"Who benefits the most from a weak court? A prime minister who knows that the court will decide whether he can serve as prime minister when there is an indictment against him. The answer, by the way, is that he cannot.
"That's why they're so eager to weaken the court, and that's why they do not care if they ruin Israeli society in the process," Lapid vented.
MK Shelly Yachimovich (Zionist Union) addressed Shaked's view on the controversial Nation-state law, and her attitude towards the HCJ.
"I suspect Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked wants to bring down the HCJ justices and to dismiss its current president. It is clearly evident from her speech of incitement. And why? Because the court did not reject the petitions against the Nation-state law? Have you heard about separation of powers? What if tomorrow a Basic Law is passed depriving women of their basic right to own property? or perhaps depriving Israeli Arabs of the right to vote?"
"Every citizen of Israel gets up every morning and says to himself: thank goodness we have a Nation-state law, yes, you are really fulfilling the will of the people...you have degraded the court and delegitimized it, you, with your own bare hands, turned it into a persona non-grata," Yachimovich added
When Meretz Chairman MK Tamar Zandberg took the floor, she talked about her concern for democracy, and referred to the government's decision to replace Police Commissioner Alsheikh.
"The decision not to extend the term of Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh is a political decision. A prime minister who is accused of a serious offense…will appoint his own judges and investigators. This is what a mafia looks like," Zandberg said .
Addressing the HCJ's decision to freeze the proceedings of the Advisory Committee for the Appointment of Senior Officials, due to concern over the close ties of two of its members with Netanyahu, she said, "Instead of proposing that an independent committee will appoint the next commissioner they simply want to cancel the appointments committee."
"Shaked's mind is dangerous to Israeli democracy, it brings us closer to eastern European non-liberal democracies and dictators from around the world," she opined.