Today’s issues: A pardon for the president, the High Court’s collective punishment of terrorists’ families, High Court criticism, and a great Mossad chief, a strategic failure.
The Jerusalem Post comments on the upcoming parole board decision on former president Moshe Katsav’s request for early release from prison, after serving two-thirds of a seven-year sentence for rape. The editor notes that “Theoretically, he is eligible. But this is a privilege, not a right,” and urges the board “to reject Katsav’s request for one simple reason: The former president has never taken responsibility for his actions, nor has he expressed regret. As a result, Katsav never underwent a process of rehabilitation and should, therefore, still be considered dangerous.”
Haaretz opposes the High Court of Justice’s “draconian practice of sealing and demolishing homes belonging to terrorists’ families,” and asserts: “Israel must stop the unacceptable act of punishing those who did not sin. The claim that demolishing homes is a deterrent rather than punishment loses its validity in light of the fact that the Israel Defense Forces itself previously stopped home demolitions, after reaching the conclusion that they don’t act as a deterrent. However, above all, the moral commandment stands out: Don’t use an innocent person to punish another person.”
Yediot Aharonot bridles at the disdain shown by Miriam Naor, the President of Israel’s Supreme Court, who determined that the criticism leveled against the Supreme Court ruling regarding the Gas Plan is ‘not worthy of a democratic state,’ and argues that “it is doubtful whether there is a properly functioning country where judicial decisions on matters which involve governance do not receive sharp criticism from academics, politicians and journalists. Only in dark regimes are judge not criticized.” The author points out that “it is doubtful whether there is another civilized country where the court assumes such authority and violates the separation of powers as Israel does,” and declares: “In most civilized countries, perhaps all of them, an issue such as the Gas Plan would never have gotten to the Supreme Court. The High Court’s decision does not make Israel into more civilized or more lawful country. On the contrary, Israel is becoming a less civilized country. In the words of the late Justice Menachem Elon, there is a difference between the rule of law and the rule of judges. We did not get the rule of law. We received another completely unnecessary instance of the rule of judges.”
Israel Hayom comments on an interview given by former Mossad chief Meir Dagan shortly before his death the Yediot Aharonot newspaper, in which he accused two Israeli prime ministers, Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, of placing their own personal interests over the interests of the nation at the moment of truth, and declares: “Meir Dagan is the last person who can accuse others of putting their personal interests above those of the nation.
[Ben-Dror Yemini and Dan Margalit wrote today’s articles in Yediot Aharonot and Israel Hayom, respectively.]