Ben Gvir panned for flogging judges over release of pro-Palestinian detainees

Jeremy Sharon is The Times of Israel’s legal affairs and settlements reporter

The Israeli Judicial Authority implicitly criticizes far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir for criticizing judges by name for decisions they have issued in recent days.

Ben Gvir has explicitly criticized two Arab judges in the last week, Ihsan Kanaan of the Haifa District Court for releasing left-wing, pro-Palestinian activist Yoav Bar from detention, and Arafat Taha of the Nazareth District Court for releasing actress Maisa Abd Elhadi from detention, after both individuals were arrested on suspicion of incitement to terrorism.

Abd Elhadi, who was put under house arrest, was subsequently indicted on charges of identifying with a terror organization and incitement to terror, amid a wide police crackdown on Israelis allegedly expressing support for the attacks online.

“In recent days, offensive statements have been published against judges for doing their job. The Israeli Judicial Authority views these statements very severely,” reads a statement put out by the spokesperson’s department of the judiciary, which was unsigned.

The statement says such comments are especially concerning when made by “senior public figures, who, precisely at these times, should be expected to work to moderate the discourse,” likely in reference to Ben Gvir.

“Israeli judges rule in accordance with the law, the circumstances of the case, and the evidence placed before them, and will continue to do their work faithfully, without fear and without bias, in times of emergency as well as on normal days,” the statement concludes.

In response, Ben Gvir says, “I suggest that the Judicial Authority concentrate on calling to order judges who demonstrate empathy to terrorism supporters instead of trying to educate elected officials.”

Most Popular