Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked attacked Tuesday the High Court of Justice’s (HCJ) Monday decision—in which it ruled that illegal aliens refusing to be transferred to a third African country cannot be detained indefinitely—insisting that the principle of Zionsim will not be subordinated to ‘a universalistic system of individual rights.’
In a speech before the Israel Bar Association conference in Tel Aviv, Shaked addressed the hot-button issue of demographics and the Zionist goal of preserving a Jewish majority in Israel at the expense of human rights for asylum seekers, genuine or otherwise.
Her speech was interrupted for several minutes by left-wing protestors who cried, “Thanks to Shaked it’s obvious Israel has apartheid.”
Despite the vitriolic protests of some in the crowds, Shaked promised that “Zionism will not continue bowing its head before a universalistic system of individual rights.”
“Israel of 2017 is a country that’s constitutionally made up of crisscrossing individual rights, without its Basic Laws referencing Israel being the nation state of the Jewish people,” Shaked lamented.
“Zionism has become a blind spot for the judiciary,” she continued. “Questions concerning it have become irrelevant. National challenges are a judicial blind spot, not at all to be considered in today’s climate, and certainly not to be ruled in favor of when faced with individual rights issues.
“The question of demographics and preserving the Jewish majority are classic examples,” she explained. “Israeli ruling doesn’t even deem them values worthy of consideration.”
Shaked went on to question whether the HCJ even considers maintaining the Jewish majority in Israel as a point of any import. “The question of the Jewish majority is never relevant. It’s irrelevant when the issue is African illegal aliens setting up camp in south Tel Aviv, effectively creating a city within a city while pushing out the original residents.
“The court’s response was striking down—and then striking down again—the law attempting to deal with this phenomenon,” she continued.
“The question of the Jewish majority is also irrelevant when a years’ long mission such as Jewish settling of the Galilee—which has been in place since the earliest days of Zionism—is abandoned in the Kaadan verdict, dubbed ‘post-Zionist’ by many even when it was first published, and all in the name of defending a system of individual rights.”
At the same time Shaked sought to make clear that she doesn’t make light of those individual rights, saying she considers the system maintaining them to be “almost sacred.”
“But not devoid of context,” she clarified. “Not detached from Israeli uniqueness, our national tasks and our very identity, history and Zionist challenges. Zionism should not—and will not—bow before a system of individual rights interpreted universally in a manner detaching it from the chronicles of the Knesset and the history of legislation we’re all familiar with.”
Shaked said the Israeli judicial branch operates as if in a “dream,” adopting a “utopian and universal worldview sanctifying individual rights to an extreme degree and ceasing taking part in the struggle for Israel’s very existence.”
At this point, she called for an overhaul of the system that enables individual rights to displace the importance of national identity. “Only a moral and political revolution of the magnitude of the revolution we saw in the 90s,” Shaked cautioned, “one reaffirming the accomplishments of Zionism and its unchanging positions, may turn this problematic tide.”
“Basic Law: Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people”, which Shaked says she intends to pass in the Knesset’s next session, does just that. “The law is a paradigm shift,” she explains. “It’s a moral and political revolution. It’s a new paradigm in regards to everything we’ve been through in the past 25 years. It isn’t about the finer points of the law. It’s a call to rouse from this dream. It’s an overall perception bringing back the principles of the founding fathers to the forefront of law. It moves Zionism and the deepest and most basic components of our identity from the blind spot it currently occupies in the judicial realm to its rightful place: under the spotlight.”
Shaked further elaborated on the law. “It creates a constitutional weave including—alongside individual rights—the fundamental national constitutional elements for Israel,” she said. “It fills the phrase ‘Jewish state’ with precisely the contents deprived of it by the judicial revolution.”
Furthermore, Shaked said she believes the law will “influence the very manner in which we comprehend rights.”
“Rights will again be a matter whose justification, breadth and proper interpretation may be gleaned”, she said, “by examining Knesset protocols and the protocol of our day.”
“Basic rights will once again become deeply rooted in our unique system,” she concluded. “The new constitutional framework will enable us to succeed—while safeguarding uncontestable basic rights—to also preserve the moral deposit of our national heritage.”