By Yuval Yoaz Haaretz Magazine 26 May 2006
[IMRA: The following are some of the controversial segments from the Cheshin
Mishael Cheshin chose to open his last judgment as a member of the Supreme
Q: Barak states in his opinion that he is ready, in the name of the
principle of proportionality, for there to be a little less security in
return for a lot more human rights.
A: "That means he is ready for 30, 50 people to be blown up, but we will
have human rights. I am not ready for that. He thinks that, I think
differently. To my great happiness, I am in the majority. I am not ready to
take a risk. Not at the Park Hotel and not in Haifa and not in buses that
blow up in Tel Aviv. Why should I take a risk? However you look at it, we
are dealing with an enemy state. I did not hear that after Pearl Harbor,
when the United States entered the war against Japan, that 10,000 Japanese
men or women suddenly wanted to marry Americans and come to America. Such a
thing is utterly inconceivable. As far as I am concerned, if someone should
enter and collaborate with terrorists and kill four-five Jews or Arabs who
are Israeli citizens - I do not want that to happen. There is no country in
the world in which there is a constitutional right to allow a foreigner into
the country, let alone an enemy."
..."For Barak, if the Knesset passes a law by a majority of a hundred to
two, he can come and assert that the law is annulled. I think that is not a
"Fight corruption with all your strength," Cheshin urged his colleagues in
his farewell speech three months ago. "Do not forsake the war day or night.
It is a matter of life and death for us and for the state. Let us oversee
them from the outside." When the Movement for Quality Government petitioned
the High Court of Justice, together with others, against Attorney General
Menachem Mazuz in the wake of his decision two years ago to close the Greek
island case against then-prime minister Ariel Sharon, seven justices sat on
the panel. Six of them decided to reject the petitions; Cheshin alone wanted
to issue an interim order and have the investigation proceed.
How did it come about that not one justice joined you in the Greek island
"I ask you, you tell me."
I don't know. Even in the majority opinion, Justice Mazza noted "puzzling
matters" that effectively led to the conclusion you reached, so I have no
"Why not? That is an excellent answer. A pertinent answer."
The justices met. You spoke, you tried to persuade the others. How did you
end up as a minority of one?
"I do not examine the hearts and minds of others. I am not God. I am only a
human being. It might be that because Mazuz was then a new attorney general
they wanted to strengthen him. Everyone has his own guess. I can say only
that when someone gets $600,000 and the promise of $2 million more for
surfing the Internet, one has to be a fool to think that he really received
the money for that work. I did not set out to be in the minority. But at
that time the whole nation wanted an outcome in which Sharon would not stand
trial, because of the disengagement plan. And if Sharon had stood trial,
there would have been no disengagement. I am not saying that this is what
the majority of the justices thought. Heaven forbid."
If what you demonstrated in the case of the Greek island is judicial
independence, then your comrades apparently displayed conformity.
"Heaven forbid, those are harsh words. It is a matter of worldview. I have
no doubt that the justices were true to themselves."