The High Court’s decision last weekend to lift a ban on Hadash candidate Ofer Cassif and the Balad party, while disqualifying Kahanist Michael Ben-Ari from the Knesset race has, once again,  laid bare the cleavages in Israeli society: liberals celebrated it as proof of the judiciary’s role in defending democracy, while for many on the right, it exhibits yet another instance of judicial tyranny. Those familiar with past rulings were likely unsurprised by the seemingly foregone conclusion regarding the final status of Cassif and the Arab nationalist Balad party. But Ben-Ari’s unprecedented disqualification also revealed an uncomfortable truth for those who routinely fume at what they perceive to be the Court’s overreach, namely that, even with the Justice Ministry firmly under the control of right-winger Ayelet Shaked for the last four years, the High Court almost unanimously rejected Ben-Ari while preventing more marginalized leftist voices from remaining censored regardless of how unpleasant or even grotesque their opinions appeared to the majority.

Yet despite the brief respite from democratic backslide, it’s hard not to recognize that the optics of the verdict lend themselves to the most fevered conspiracy theories of the Court’s skeptics: that the Court, an apparent bastion of leftist elitism, an institution made up of government-appointed individuals has confirmed its unswervingly liberal and anti-Zionist bent by conveniently protecting those who would do harm to the state. It is, in some darkly comical way, a scenario ripped from the pages of a nationalist detailing the dystopian rise of the Israeli left. Suddenly, it’s neither Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s legal woes nor Kachol Lavan and former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz’s phone hacking scandal at the center of voter’s attention. The Court has now, once again, become a focal point for the right’s ere, a bete noir whose very existence prevents the right-wing (in power for a consecutive decade) from realizing its goals.

Such a pile on naturally presented Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked with another opportunity to offer her point-by-point plan to, in her words, “revolutionize” the court. As part of her mission to reign in the court’s behavior, Shaked has suggested, among other things, switching to a more “American style” system of nominating candidates, doing away with the Judicial Appointments Committee, with the justice minister instead presenting a slate of candidates for Knesset approval. While hardly anti-democratic on its face, such a suggestion made by the likes of Shaked is hard to interpret as anything other than a naked play for power and politicization of an institution that has succeeded in maintaining its independence since the state’s inception.

It may still seem perverse that after an entire term of railing against the very institution she was sworn to uphold, only to receive constant pushback, Shaked would still outspokenly favor continuing her crusade to undermine its integrity. A bizarre new ad by Hayamin Hehadash (which sees Shaked spray herself with the aroma of “fascism”), poking fun at left-wing anxiety that sees every move by the justice minister as another anti-democratic machination seems only to reinforce the perception of herself Shaked is trying to shed. Of course, part of the reason for the ad’s launch, as Ha’aretz columnist Allison Kaplan Sommer recently pointed out, is likely Hayamin Hehadash’s flagging popularity.

Hayamin Hehadash leaders Shaked and Naftali Bennett went from kingmakers in Netanyahu’s next theoretical government to yet another small right-wing party that polling dangerously close to the electoral threshold. With the atomizing of the political far-right now comes the demand for each party to justify its existence to fair weather voters who will either rally around an embattled Netanyahu or vote for another right-wing party that best serves their niche demands. Perhaps the duo believed a projection of confidence by offering a concrete plan for the immediate future might bolster their chances — with the reputation of the court ultimately paying the price.

In the past decade, a rising tide of invective aimed at the Court has left many liberals (and moderate conservatives of the last generation) rattled about the future of the judiciary’s independence. Another Netanyahu victory could severely impact the Court’s power if he decides to assemble another solidly right-wing coalition. A story that barely made waves about a week ago revealed that ever-reliable Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, long seen as the only moderating force in the nationalist camp, is now reconsidering his defense of the Court, as he believes it no longer plays well with his voting base. Of course, Kahlon may not even be faced with this quandary as the many of latest polls show him teetering on political oblivion. Yet like Hayamin Hehadash, the finance minister is looking for any method to differentiate himself and keep his head above water. Levying attacks on the High Court, or simply acquiescing to them, is, therefore, an easy way to score political points.

It’s heartening to know that even in the face of routine incitement and the knowledge that its decision would lead to blowback, the High Court forged ahead in its handling of elections disqualifications. Yet without a party in the next coalition committed, even ostensibly, to liberal values, it may in retrospect appear to be a Pyrrhic victory. Constant demonization over the course of a decade will only build into a dangerous wave that will, sooner rather than later, lead to the political right taking tangible action against it, leaving the judiciary at its mercy.