Supreme Court judges stop talking to justice minister

Miriam Naor, Ayelet Shaked  photo: Lior Mizrahi

Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked is promoting a bill to curb the influence of sitting Supreme Court justices on new appointments.

"Globes" yesterday reported that Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked and Israel Supreme Court President Miriam Naor were on a collision course. This collision has apparently already taken place.

Naor today sent Shaked a harsh letter, in which she and her fellow Supreme Court justices on the committee for appointing new members of the Supreme Court, Justices Salim Joubran and Elyakim Rubinstein, terminated their dialogue with Shaked aimed at compiling a list of Supreme Court candidates.

Naor rebuked Shaked for not informing her of her plan to promote a bill eliminating the veto given the Supreme Court justices on the committee by the current requirement for approval of candidates by a majority of seven of the nine committee members.

"Although the bill was proposed by a private member, you have since raised no objections to it," Naor wrote. "Under these circumstances, I can only interpret your silence as an expression of the view that this private member's bill has your approval. If that is the case, it would have been proper to discuss the matter with me ahead of time."

According to Naor, the submission of the bill at the current time constitutes "putting a gun on the table," and changes the constitutional rules of the game.

Shaked's bureau said in response, "Meetings of the committee for appointing new members of the Supreme Court will continue as usual. A list of candidates for the Supreme Court will be published in the coming days."

Sources involved in the committee's work told "Globes" today that the minister was unmoved by Naor's biting criticism, and that work would continue as usual, as far as she was concerned. The sources added that MK Robert Iliatov (Yisrael Beitenu) had no intention of promoting his bill, and would have promoted it only if the committee members had not reached agreement on appointments to the Supreme Court.

"Unruly and destructive policy"

MK Shelly Yachimovich (Zionist Union) said, "Supreme Court President Naor's announcement is a necessary response to the unruly and destructive policy of Minister of Justice Shaked towards the Supreme Court."

Yachimovich added, "What we have here is one kick after another, more and more incitement, more and more damage inflicted by Shaked on the Supreme Court. Shaked is dealing a critical blow to the foundations of the rule of law in Israel. It's no wonder that the leaders of the system are telling her to go no further."

MK Revital Swid (Zionist Union) said, "Naor's letter shows the fear they tried to inflict on the Supreme Court justices. We'll continue to back the Supreme Court justices and defend the rule of law against the government's dangerous moves."

Bennett: Legislators should legislate, judges should judge

On the other side of the political map, Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin (Likud) also responded to Naor's letter to Shaked about the appointment of Supreme Court justices. "I can only express my horror at the Supreme Court president's vitriolic letter indicating that she believes that the Supreme Court is above the state, not a part of it, as if it were her private possession. She is trying to put the Minister of Justice, the government, and the Knesset in fear," Levin said.

Minister of Education Naftali Bennett backed Shaked, saying, "Unfortunately, in recent decades, there has been growing active interference with the government by the legal system. One example is the striking down of the law against infiltrators, which has led to their streaming into south Tel Aviv, with the government unable to act. It's time for the legislators to legislate and the judges to judge."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 3, 2016

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2016

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Miriam Naor, Ayelet Shaked  photo: Lior Mizrahi
Miriam Naor, Ayelet Shaked photo: Lior Mizrahi
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