Attorney General vs. Democracy
By Moshe Feiglin
Former Prime Minister Olmert is convicted in court of breach of public trust, a crime legally considered a ‘disgrace’ that can get him up to five years of imprisonment – and he is all smiles. Nothing more is necessary to show us what type of person he is. Can anybody imagine Menachem Begin or Yitzchak Shamir leaving the courthouse with a broad smile after a similar conviction?
Olmert can certainly qualify for the title of most contemptible PM that Israel has known. The fact that he was acquitted of most of the charges against him means that he is very devious – not that he is honest.
Nonetheless, when Attorney General Mazuz announced that he would be conducting an investigation against Olmert, I wrote the following:
“I do not have many good things to say about Olmert. In truth, I don’t have anything good to say about him, at all. But I am deeply opposed to this investigation. Moreover, I will act to advance legislation that will provide immunity from police investigation for prime ministers and possibly ministers for a year after they have finished their term.”
“With all the disgust that I feel toward certain politicians, I prefer to let them off the Attorney General’s hook while they hold office, and not to allow a group of people who have never been elected by the public to extort our elected officials.”
Leave the Prime Minister Alone (NRG Sept. 29, 2007)
Four years later, after another scandal erupted, this time with Yoav Galant, a candidate for Chief of Staff, I wrote the following:
“The witch hunt against Israel’s senior officials that has turned into a national sport is a negative phenomenon that must stop. While Olmert was being investigated I wrote that we must enact legislation that would ensure immunity for all those who hold senior government positions while they are serving their term. Olmert was never my cup of tea, but I consider the legal attacks against him a greater danger than the intrinsic danger of the man himself.”
“What we are witnessing is actually a putsch carried out by the ‘rule of law’ gang, backed by the media’s attack dogs of ‘democracy’. It is a putsch against the legitimacy of government by the people and its elected officials. It serves to effect a steady retreat from the sovereignty of the people by undermining the status of its elected officials.”
From the Shikmim Farm to the Galant Farm: (NRG: Feb. 6, 2011)
The AG investigated Raful, Ne’eman, Ramon, Lieberman, Sharon and of course, Olmert. The common ground between all of them is one of two factors: Either they attempted to undermine the undisputed supremacy of the justice system , as in Olmert’s appointment of Friedman as Justice Minister; insistence – against the will of Chief Justice Aharon Barak – that the Judicial Selection Committee write a protocol of its proceedings (Ramon); or they were a candidate for Justice Minister (Ne’eman). In other words, the AG’s offices attacked anybody who could threaten their ruling hegemony. Further, they advanced their own agenda of retreat from Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The investigations against Sharon that disappeared at the moment that he announced his Disengagement plan are a glaring example of this phenomenon.
To save Israel’s democracy from the Attorney General, three important reforms must immediately be put in place:
1. A commission of inquiry into the scandalous conduct of the Attorney General’s offices.
2. Immediate separation between the position of attorney general and public prosecutor
3. Change of the law so that, outside of serious exceptions that will be determined by legislation passed by a privileged majority in the Knesset, the prime minister and government ministers will enjoy immunity from investigations and initiation of court proceedings while they are still serving their term of office.
In a democratic state, the people are sovereign and it is they who should determine who will lead them and to where.