List of candidates to fill 4 posts at the High Court unveiled


The list of 24 candidates to fill the two positions already open at the Supreme Court and the two positions to be filled soon was published on Thursday.

The powerful Judge Selection Committee, chaired by Justice Minister Gideon Saar (New Hope), has been meeting since August and will replace four judges in this round and two more in a subsequent round by October 2023.
By October 2023, more than a third of the 15 Supreme Court justices will have been replaced, potentially shifting the course of the court in a more conservative direction as Saar generally prefers conservative judges to liberals.

There are already two gaping holes that need to be filled following the retirement of Judges Hanan Melcer and Menachem Mazuz last April, but which could not be replaced amid the freeze on all appointments under the previous government of Benjamin Netanyahu of Likud and Blue and White. Benny Gantz.

In April 2022, Neal Hendel and George Karra will retire, and by October 2023, Chief Justice Esther Hayut and Anat Baron will also have retired.

A screenshot of the live stream from a hearing at the High Court of Justice (credit: screenshot)

Besides Saar, the committee also includes Hayut, Judge Yitzhak Amit, Judge Uzi Vogelman, Home Secretary Ayelet Shaked (Yamina), Labor MP Efrat Rayten, Religious Zionist Party MP Simcha Rothman and representatives of the Bar. Israeli Muhammad Naamana and Ilana Sakar.

Of all the candidates, District Judge Khaled Kabub has the clearest path to nomination since traditionally there is an Arab-Israeli on the court, and Kabub is considered the best candidate to replace Karra.

If selected, he would become the first Muslim on the ground, given that all Arab Israelis to date have come from a Christian background.

Other top candidates could include District Judges Ram Vinograd, Ruth Ronen, Yigal Marzel, Gila Kanfu-Steinetz (wife of former Minister and Likud MP Yuval Steinitz), Ron Sokol, Tamara Bazak-Rappaport, Revital Yafa-Katz and Michal Agmon-Gonen.

Former Director General of the Ministry of Justice Sigal Yacobi, former IDF Military Advocate General (MAG), Major General. (res.) Sharon Afek, former Knesset legal adviser Eyal Yinon, former chief public defender Yoav Sapir are also well-known candidates.

Yacobi or Afek, if selected, would become the first homosexual to be appointed to the Supreme Court.

Afek could also be considered to replace Avichai Mandelblit as attorney general on February 1.

Although Meir Shamgar is an example of a former MAG who eventually became a Supreme Court justice, Mandelblit and former MAG Menachem Finklestein both first sought district judge positions before seeking higher judicial office. .

Mandelblit has likely not been able to run for a seat on the High Court given he is due to serve as attorney general for the next four months, but he could be eligible to fill the vacancies that will emerge in 2023.

Yinon is to be called as one of the many witnesses in Netanyahu’s trial.

Other candidates who have been the subject of media hype include Kobi Sharbit, Nati Simhoni, Professor Shahar Lifshitz and former government bankruptcy official David Hahn.

Of the three non-Arab-Israeli posts, at least one should be a woman, and politicians have insisted that two of the three would be conservative given the leanings of Saar and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

In the bargaining between the generally more liberal bloc of three Supreme Court justices, sometimes backed by the two representatives of the Israeli Bar Association, and the current more conservative political class on the committee, sometimes lesser-known candidates are selected as a compromise. between the parties. .

The center-left coalition majority has been relatively silent on how difficult it would fight for a two-to-two or a three-to-one split in favor of more liberal judges.

Although conventionally the Supreme Court is classified as liberal, Shaked has already shifted it to an almost conservative majority during his tenure as justice minister from 2015 to 2019.

Given that three of the four outgoing judges in this cycle are liberals, Saar and Shaked could finally win a majority on the pitch and even cement the majority by 2023 when two more moderate liberals retire.

A spokesperson for Yair Lapid, who heads Yesh Atid and generally the center-left coalition parties, had not responded on the issue at press time.

But Rayten said that as a representative of the Labor Party on the committee, she “would act to promote women and prominent jurists with experience, a commitment to the public good and a sensitivity to social issues.”

Rayten said she and Labor would push for independent and impartial judges with a strong backbone as well as individuals who put Israel in a positive light internationally.

Candidates are supposed to be reduced to six or seven in October, with interviews set for October 24 and the committee to vote around November 23.


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