Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that he is “pleased with the fact that the state's basic position – that illegal infiltration of labor immigrants into Israel cannot be tolerated – was accepted by the High Court, and that the court has allowed the incarceration of immigrants for achieving the required deterrence.”
However, he added, “the verdict will be studied and the state wil act to implement it.”
Culture Minister Miri Regev (Likud) said Tuesday that she “breathed a sigh of relief” upon hearing that the High Court had partially rejected the motion filed by leftist "human rights" groups against the Infiltrator Law. The court upheld the law, including a section that allows up to three months of incarceration for infiltrators, but shortened the number of months that infiltrators can then be held in open detention from 20 to 12.
"I congratulate the citizens of the state of Israel, and mainly the residents of southern Tel Aviv, who finally received a fair verdict today, that will make it possible to provide a fitting solution for the infiltrator problem and protect the citizens of Israel from a tsunami of fresh infiltrators,” Regev said.
Regev, who helped fashion the bill as Interior Committee Chair in the previous Knesset, congratulated the High Court “for understanding that an elected government has the right and duty to determine a clear immigration policy.”
“It would have been better if the High Court had not intervened at all, but I hope that its moderate intervention will not interfere in repatriating the infiltrators,” she opined.
MK Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) harshly criticized the High Court’s ruling. "I regret that I have to pour cold water on the excitement of my colleagues from the Right,” Smotrich said Tuesday. “This is a delusional verdict that exposes the lack of logic, not to say ridiculousness, in the High Court's judicial activism.”
"The determination that incarceration for 20 months is 'disproportionate', while incarceration for 12 months as determined by Judge Miriam Naor is 'proportional,' is simply baseless.
"Let the judges explain to the simple masses, how their judgment is preferable to that of the legislator?! Do they possess some kind of mathematical formula that produces only one result and no other, or does it simply 'look to them' that this is fair and reasonable? Who says they are in any better position than the legislators to determine what is fair and reasonable?!”
'Show some mercy'
A leading activist for the rights of the Jewish residents in the working class neighborhoods where most infiltrators reside was less pleased. May Golan said that the High Court “has meted out a verdict of a life of suffering and hell for residents who did no wrong! The citizens of the the state of Israel did not elect the judges of the High Court, but the Knesset of Israel, in order to protect them,” she argued.
Golan urged Supreme Court President Miriam Naor to tour southern Tel Aviv “and show some mercy upon the women who were raped, the men who were beaten, and the families whose loved ones were murdered” by infiltrators, who have a very high crime rate.
Former interior minister Gideon Saar said Tuesday that the High Court “was wrong this time, too, when it insisted for the third straight time in less than two years on disqualifying Knesset legislation that was meant to deal with the infiltration phenomenon.”
"In the previous verdict, about a year ago, which nixed important sections in the law that I led as interior minister – which was much tougher than the current law – [then Supreme Court] President Grunis said in a minority opinion that the court must be restrained and careful in disqualifying Knesset legislation on the matter.
"This is doubly true with the current law, which is a much softer one.”
Leftist MKs have been extremely active in campaigning for the infiltrators' rights. Despite their avowed feminism, leading MKs from Labor and Meretz have been conspicuously silent regarding the infiltrators' sordid record as far as sexual offenses are concerned.