Shaked appoints new conservative justices, could shift Israeli law rightward shift

Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked is a member of Israel's far-right Jewish Home party alongside fellow MK Naftali Bennett [Avishai Teicher]
Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked is a member of Israel’s far-right Jewish Home party alongside fellow MK Naftali Bennett [Avishai Teicher]
Four Supreme Court justices appointed by Israel Wednesday could signify a shifting of power towards the political right.

In a report Thursday, Haaretz noted that three of the four appointees – Jerusalem District Judge David Mintz, Haifa District Court Judge Yael Willner, Haifa District Court President Yosef Elron, and Tel Aviv District Court Judge George Karra – are conservative.

Out of the appointees, only Karra is not considered a conservative. Additionally, Willner and Mintz are both considered religious. Mintz is also a West Bank settler.

The appointments were celebrated as groundbreaking by right-wing Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.

“Today we made history,” Shaked said in a statement, adding that the appointments “reflect the human and legal diversity so needed in our society, and which until now has been so lacking on our highest court.”

Shaked, who headed the judicial appointments committee which oversaw the selections, told Israel’s Army Radio she believes the appointments will “strengthen the trust of the right in the Supreme Court.”

Miriam Naor, a Supreme Court justice retiring in October, also spoke positively of the committee’s decision, saying she is “proud and happy the committee wisely promoted four justices who are skilled, professional and have extensive, rich experience in the court system.”

According to a Times of Israel report Thursday, Naor expressed confidence that the judges will “without a doubt constitute an important contribution in the tasks facing the justices in the Supreme Court.”

Naor cut ties with Shaked in November after Shaked threatened to push legislation through the Knesset allowing herself and other politicians to appoint judges without the consent of the Supreme Court,  according to the Jerusalem Post.

On Twitter, former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni struck a more cautious tone, urging the judges to avoid populism.

“I hope the court will continue to be steered under the confident hands of the judges, who are committed to Israel’s laws,” Livni wrote, “and won’t be cowed by populism.”

02/23/2017 11:33 AM by Menachem Rephun

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