Respect for Israel’s High Court?
This news report shows a lack of respect by Israel’s High Court. I want to share a new analysis about this.
At first glance, it is unclear why this “normally slow-moving court” suddenly decided to enact this “fast-paced drama.” All the more so because it said itself that it “could have rejected the request and determined that the date for implementing the decision remain [sic] as decided.”
That latter position is untrue, of course. If the government finds a way to avoid violence, gets to a compromise signed by all parties, the High Court cannot throw away that success. That way it would disgrace itself for all.
But why did it interfere the way it did? My suggestion: to show who’s the boss. Not the government — it bashed it in unusually harsh language — and not the residents of Amona who got in to an agreement with the State; only the High Court is the boss.
I’m not the only one who noticed. Complaints cited in the article:
- It “demanded an unequivocal commitment” to it and not to the government.
- It “had singled out Amona residents for poor treatment [while] other groups are not asked to come back and change technical matters.”
- It “continues to torture Amona families.”
- It “uses its rulings to cause rifts in Israeli society.”
- This is a “dictatorship of the High Court.”
- “[T]he ego of the High Court harms all of us.”
So the High Court bullied them until it was sheepishly obeyed.
However, let’s place ourselves for a moment in the shoes of these justices. They are not just there to solve legal problems. They also must demand respect for their authority. And this was their chance to do so.
In this case, it was treated slightly disrespectfully as an authority merely to rubberstamp this agreement. It refused. It is not just here to agree with others. It has the last say and it wanted to show it. And it did and … won.
However, the above word bully might be misplaced here. A bully is someone who takes what’s not his or hers. But here, the High Court only insisted on its right to rule, its proper power.
And you know what? While having not too much respect for what goes on in that Court, I like some of what it did here. Why?
In democratic societies the world over, respect for authority is waning. Some of that is no doubt the result of how those authorities behave, like parliaments and governments ignoring the needs of the population.
However, as the prophet implies (Jeremiah 29:7), if we would not have authorities, people would eat each other alive. We cannot throw out authority, no matter how imperfectly it behaves. We must improve authorities, but not disgrace them.