Justice Uzi Vogelman said to forgo role as head of Supreme Court

Vogelman would have only held the position for a year due to his age; next in line is Justice Isaac Amit

Supreme Court Justice Uzi Vogelman in Jerusalem for a court hearing on June 4, 2018 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Supreme Court Justice Uzi Vogelman in Jerusalem for a court hearing on June 4, 2018 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Justice Uzi Vogelman, who is slated to replace Esther Hayut as chief justice of the Supreme Court upon her retirement in 2023, is expected to decline the position, Hebrew-language media reported Tuesday morning.

Hayut will be forced to retire next October when she turns 70.

Vogelman, Hayut’s obvious replacement based on seniority, will soon turn 70 as well, meaning he would only hold the position for about a year.

According to the Ynet news site, he sees no point in becoming president of the Supreme Court for one year, given the wide range of managerial tasks and the complex handover involved in taking the position.

Considered one of the most liberal among Supreme Court justices, Vogelman has voiced harsh criticism of Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked’s conduct surrounding the controversial Citizenship Law, and in 2020 was part of a panel that rejected the demolition of the home of a Palestinian suspect in the killing of yeshiva student Dvir Sorek in the West Bank.

Vogelman will retain his position as justice in the Supreme Court, the report said.

Supreme Court Justice Esther Hayut (C) sits with Justice Noam Sohlberg (R) and Justice Uzi Vogelman during a court hearing for Meir Ettinger at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem on April 4, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Next in line to replace Hayut is justice Isaac Amit, who will soon turn 65 and would hold the position for five years.

Amit, who specializes in civil law, was appointed to the Supreme Court in August 2009 after serving as a judge at the Haifa magistrate and district courts.

Earlier this month, he was part of a panel of judges that ruled that four Palestinian families in the flashpoint East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah cannot be evicted until the Justice Ministry settles their ownership claims to the property.

Last July, he told senior police officials that “the courts today don’t believe police officers as they used to,” due to their use of body cameras, Haaretz reported. There have been several cases in recent years in which police used edited footage to back up false claims.

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