Judges would be chosen by government, approved by Knesset

Sa’ar pans opposition bill ‘politicizing’ selection of Supreme Court judges

Justice minister vows to torpedo proposal, which he says will ‘eliminate’ the court’s independence; warns a Netanyahu government will endanger Israeli democracy

A view of the Supreme Court building in Jerusalem. (Shmuel Bar-Am)
A view of the Supreme Court building in Jerusalem. (Shmuel Bar-Am)

Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar on Monday assailed an opposition bill aimed at reforming the selection process for Supreme Court judges, vowing to torpedo it.

According to the bill — submitted by lawmakers from the Likud, Shas, United Torah Judaism and Religious Zionism parties — Supreme Court judges, including its president and vice president, will be appointed by the government, with final approval given by a vote in the Knesset plenum.

The proposal seeks to replace the current system, which is done through the Judicial Selection Committee, composed of ministers, lawmakers and judges.

“A proposal by [David] Amsalem, [Itamar] Ben Gvir and [Yitzhak] Pindrus aimed at eliminating the Supreme Court’s independence and completely politicizing the selection process for judges is set to come up for a vote in two days,” Sa’ar said at a meeting of his New Hope faction in Knesset.

“If, God forbid, a Bibi-Ben Gvir government is formed, the danger to Israel’s democratic regime of government will be clear and immediate. We will work to topple this bill at Wednesday’s vote in the plenum.”

Right-wing politicians have long attacked the court over its composition and its rulings, accusing it of being too liberal, and have called for drastically limiting its powers of judicial oversight.

Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar leads a New Hope faction meeting at the Knesset on June 6, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly attacked the justice system during his ongoing corruption trial.

Sa’ar himself has advocated for further forms within the justice system, including televised public hearings for Supreme Court candidates and splitting the role of the attorney general into two positions.

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