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No Likud rep as coalition, opposition MKs elected to judicial selection panel

Labor’s Efrat Rayten and Simcha Rothman of Religious Zionism chosen to serve as Knesset representatives on the powerful committee

Labor MK Efrat Rayten (left) and Religious Zionism MK Simcha Rothman. (Flash90)
Labor MK Efrat Rayten (left) and Religious Zionism MK Simcha Rothman. (Flash90)

Labor MK Efrat Rayten and Religious Zionism MK Simcha Rothman were elected via secret ballot on Wednesday to serve as the legislative representatives of the coalition and the opposition, respectively, on the Judicial Selection Committee.

The panel, which appoints new judges to the bench, is chaired by the justice minister and includes another cabinet minister, two MKs selected by the Knesset, two members of the Israel Bar Association, the chief justice and two other Supreme Court judges.

Rayten received 67 votes and Rothman got 53, beating out Likud MK Orly Levy-Abekasis, who ran after the opposition failed to come to an agreement on a consensus candidate. The election marks the first time in many years that Likud will not have a representative on the committee.

“Being chosen as a member of the Judicial Selection Committee is a huge honor and an enormous responsibility,” Rayten tweeted following her election. “I will work to the best of my ability to strengthen the judiciary out of a belief in its professionalism, quality and independence.”

Rothman tweeted that he was accepting the job with “emotion and humility.”

Both Rayten and Rothman are attorneys.

The Judicial Selection Committee is scheduled to convene next week for the first time in eight months.

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, a longtime outspoken advocate of judicial reform, and Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar are the current government representatives on the panel. Shaked reportedly made her spot on the panel contingent on her Yamina party joining the coalition.

Also on Wednesday, Likud MK Gila Gamliel and Yamina MK Shirly Pinto were elected to the committee that selects religious Jewish judges, beating out Shas MK Moshe Arbel. Joint List MK Osama Saadi, Ra’am MK Mansour Abbas and Yamina MK Nir Orbach were selected for the committee to appoint religious Muslim judges.

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