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Demand: Suspend Judge Who Hid NIF-Related Conflict of Interest

In a political case, Judge Ruth Ronen ruled in favor of Gisha, which is supported by the NIF. Ronen's husband sits on the NIF's board.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 4/11/2011, 8:03 PM / Last Update: 4/11/2011, 8:11 PM

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MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) sent an urgent letter Monday to Minister of Justice Yaakov Ne'eman and Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch, demanding that they suspend Tel Aviv District Court Judge Ruth Ronen for presiding over a sensitive political case involving the New Israel Fund despite a clear conflict of interest. 

Ma'ariv journalist Ben-Dror Yemini revealed that Ronen ruled in favor of a motion by extreme-leftist group Gisha, and ordered the State to reveal an internal document that deals with the supply of food to Gaza, as well as the names of the people who authored it. The document spells out the minimal nutritional level of the residents of Gaza that needs to be maintained - despite the fact that Israel is not responsible for Gazans' level of nutrition.
 
Revelation of the document would presumably assist Israel's enemies in portraying Israel as responsible for Gazan's health and well-being, Yemini explained.
 
Judge Ronen accepted Gisha's motion based on the Freedom of Information Law even though it specifies that the State does not have to supply information that could "hurt the State's security, its foreign relations and the security of the public."
 
In any case, Ronen should have recused herself from the case from the outset, Yemini explained, because her husband, Ze'ev Bergman, is a member of the board of the New Israel Fund, which supported Gisha directly in the past and continues to support it through Shatil, the NIF's operative arm.
 
Critics of the ultra-leftist New Israel Fund say that it influences large parts of Israel's judicial, journalistic and political elites, through a sophisticated network of non-governmental organizations, like Gisha. The Fund has also been accused of aiding Israel's enemies in demonizing Israel.  
 
The revelations against Ronen appear to be a case in point. So far, most websites have ignored the story, and no Knesset members except Ben-Ari have summoned up the courage to demand Ronen's suspension.