Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told FOX News’ Mark Levin on Sunday that he wouldn’t comment on the internal affairs of other democracies, despite the fact that other nations have been forthcoming with their opinions about Israel’s internal dealings.
“I’ve been in power, elected, again and again, six times, democratically,” Netanyahu said. “And it’s a total of 16 years, and in all of these 16 years, I never commented on the internal debates and other democracies.”
The Israeli prime minister’s comments came in response to a question from Levin about whether Netanyahu thought it was odd that other countries were trying to get involved in Israel’s current political issues.
“Other leaders, elected leaders, can decide to [weight in on Israel’s internal affairs]. Everybody has an opinion on Israel.” Netanyahu remarked. “You have a major debate between the Supreme Court and the executive [branch] right now in America. I don’t really care to comment about it, but if people choose to comment about ours, it’s OK, we’ll make our own decisions.”
The prime minister went on to explain that, in his opinion, the global discussion surrounding the reasonableness standard had been warped. He stated that no other democratic country has a comparable system in which the judiciary can strike down a governmental ruling, not because the ruling was illegal, but because the court subjectively felt it was “unreasonable.”
“What we’re doing is not weakening Israeli democracy, we’re strengthening it,” said Netanyahu. “We’re bringing it back in line to where most democracies are, where Israel was in its first five decades, and where it should be now.”
What does “democracy” mean?
“What is democracy?” asked Netanyahu. “Democracy balances the will of the majority with individual rights or the rights of the minority.” He went on to explain how this balance is achieved, lauding the United States’ founding fathers for implementing a system of checks and balances between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.
“That balance has been thrown off the rails in Israel by, as I said, the most activist judicial court anywhere on Earth,” he said. “And so when we try to restore it, that is said to be an affront to democracy.”
He further added that while he respects the individuals in the Israeli Supreme Court, they were not elected, and in order for Israel to operate as a better democracy, they could not have the ability to overrule a democratically elected government without proper legal justification.