'Israeli judicial activism breaks records'

Professor Alex Stein, elected to Supreme Court judge last week, until recently maintained Facebook page where he openly revealed positions.

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Mordechai Sones,

Alex Stein
Alex Stein
Miri Shimonovitch

Professor Alex Stein, recently elected Supreme Court justice, was until recently completely anonymous to the Israeli public.

However, a series of quotes from his personal Facebook account, which will be revealed this weekend in an article by Avishay Grynizig in the newspaper B'Sheva and published on Tuesday evening on Channel 2, make it apparent why Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked wanted to appoint him to the position.

Stein is a well-known expert in economic law who is also well-known for his opposition to judicial activism.

The Facebook account was limited to be viewed by friends, in which he raised his views on a range of issues, including Supreme Court judicial activism.

Stein has also expressed the opinion that standing in the courts should be granted to those personally involved in the case at hand, in contrast to the current situation in Israel where anyone can file a suit about an issue, whether or not he is personally affected by it. In this way NGOs file lawsuits against construction in Judea and Samaria without first finding the alleged owners of the land.

"Israeli judicial activism breaks records: There is no real demand for claimants to have standing and everything is adjudicable, there is no 'political question.' Despite the fact that the Supreme Court rarely disqualifies Knesset laws, its rhetoric is domineering. It assumes authority under a façade of checks and balances," Stein wrote in 2015.

Regarding the position of international law in the confrontation with Hamas in Gaza, Stein wrote, "My approach to proportionality is that international law must be in consonance with reality, with modern warfare, and with sound logic. The idea that proportionality requires a large country to maintain a mathematical balance in the number of fatalities on both sides is ridiculous and unacceptable."

In this context, Stein wrote, "Israel has not conquered Gaza, and so is only obligated to minimize harm to Gaza's civilians while defending itself against Hamas rocket attacks. For the same reason, it is not obliged to supply Gaza with electricity or gas, even though it does so for humanitarian reasons."

About a week before his election to serve as a judge by the Judicial Selection Committee, Prof. Stein closed his Facebook account.