Every country needs to have rule of law. The current format of the principle of separation of state powers, the product of French political thinker Montesquieu's musings, represents the cornerstone of modern democracy and is of the utmost importance in decentralizing authority and the proper conduct of a state.
However, the High Court of Justice in Israel appears to have decided to interpret the separation of state powers somewhat differently. Former Supreme Court President Aharon Barak notoriously said that "everything is justiciable." He lead Israel's judicial authorities -- especially the High Court -- down a dangerous path, the results of which have recently become apparent.
Unfortunately, instead of serving as one of the three branches of government, a part of checks and balances system, Israel's Supreme Court justices have decided to become the final word -- above the government, above the Knesset and above the public -- even in issues where they do not need to maintain a foothold.
Several recent developments were meant to remind the Supreme Court that it is not above everyone else and that it was established to serve Israeli citizens. Only a month ago, the High Court handled an issue that enjoyed near total Knesset and public consensus -- the issue of illegal infiltrators -- in a shocking way.
Given the distress of the residents in south Tel Aviv, where locals are afraid to leave their homes, one could have expected the High court to do everything within its judicial power to guarantee civil security. But despite that crucial understanding, the High Court decided to undermine the executive branch, which had enacted an amendment permitting the state to detain infiltrators for up to three years, thus disrupting the lives of the residents of south Tel Aviv.
"I will assume that the outcome of this ruling will not be easy for the Israeli public, and it will be particularly difficult for the residents of south Tel Aviv, whose distress, as it is reflected by their genuine cries, evokes sympathy and understanding as to the need to help them with this situation," wrote Justice Edna Arbel, one of the justices who made the ruling.
But if this is so, how could the court so bluntly ignore the will of the people and the safety of the citizens?
The time has come to reinvigorate the reciprocal relationship between the authorities and "restore it to its former glory" as some say. The glory of the days before Barak's activism. It is worth noting that there is a current trend of improvement compared to Barak's day. Still, changing the makeup of the Judicial Nomination Committee could prevent situations where the High Court absolutely and consistently torpedoes decisions it does not agree with without giving the public the opportunity to question, democratically and through its representatives, its decision-making process.
Regrettably, the court often interprets laws enacted by the legislature quite differently than the author intended. Still, it is understood that we cannot minimize the High Court's importance in several cases where its intervention and discretion are required, but court justices need to understand that they must allow the legislature, elected by the people, the authority to promote the very agendas they were chosen to serve, without trying constantly to put a spoke in the wheels.