Sa’ar says overhaul in judicial appointments will make every new judge corrupt

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a former political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

National Unity MK Gideon Sa'ar speaks during a party faction meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, January 9, 2023. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
National Unity MK Gideon Sa'ar speaks during a party faction meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, January 9, 2023. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Former justice minister and National Unity MK Gideon Sa’ar says the government’s planned reforms to judicial appointments will add “ulterior motives and political considerations” to naming Israel’s arbiters of justice.

“Anyone who is familiar with the political system immediately understands what will happen. Ulterior motives and political considerations will dictate who is chosen to be Israel’s judges,” Sa’ar says at the outset of National Unity’s faction meeting.

“Every judge will know whom he owes and every litigator coming before him will also know who holds the debt,” he adds. “This is a surefire way to turn our judicial system into a corrupt system.”

As justice minister, Sa’ar increased panel transparency by making the Judicial Selection Committee’s hearings public. As a Likud MK, he balanced appointment power between politicians and professional representatives.

Sa’ar also says that a High Court override clause should require a “special majority,” although he did not set out a specific number.

Striking a similar line to party leader Benny Gantz, whose proposal to create an across-the-aisle judicial reform package was rebuffed by the government, Sa’ar adds that “it is certainly possible to regulate the relationship between authorities” through the Basic Law that undergirds the judiciary.

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