The Judicial Selection Committee is convening for the first time since April 2022 after its chair, Justice Minister Yariv Levin refused to bring the panel together since he took office.
Levin’s refusal was part of the government’s judicial overhaul, which roiled the country, with opponents accusing the government of undermining the judiciary and Israel’s system of checks and balances.
The committee is dealing only with procedural matters, however, and will not be able to make appointments since the panel can only deliberate on candidates for judgeships if their candidacy was published in the official state gazette 45 days ahead of the committee hearing, which did not happen.
There are currently dozens of empty positions on courts around the country — the Israel Courts Administration says there will be 53 empty judgeships by the end of the year — which increased the pressure on Levin to convene the committee.
“Israeli judges are collapsing under the case burden, and this is increasing the time it takes to conduct court hearings,” says committee member MK Karin Elharar of Yesh Atid, representing the opposition on the panel.
“After a delay of 10 months, we cannot wait any longer, the dozens of empty positions on the court benches must be filled… I am hopeful that the justice minister will rise to the urgency of the hour and act in cooperation with all the committee members in order to appoint professional and independent judges for all of Israel’s citizens,” adds Elharar.
The committee comprises nine members: Levin; Minister of Settlements and National Missions Orit Strock; MK Yitzhak Kroizer; Elharar; Acting Supreme Court President Uzi Vogelman; Supreme Court justices Isaac Amit and Daphne Barak-Erez; and Israel Bar Association representatives Muhamad Naamneh and Ilana Saker.