Hershkowitz Slams Likud Ministers 'Who Serve the Left'

Min. Daniel Hershkowitz (Jewish Home) believed to be referring to ministers Sa'ar, Eitan, Meridor, Begin who opposed vetting of judges.

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Gil Ronen,

Saar (left) and Hershkowitz (file)
Saar (left) and Hershkowitz (file)
Israel news photo: Flash 90


Minister of Science and Technology Daniel Hershkowitz (Jewish Home) used uncharacteristically blunt words to condemn Likud ministers who opposed the bill that would make Supreme Court nominees subject to parliamentary hearings before confirmation. He said they were "serving the Left" by opposing the vetting process.

The bill, which was initiated by MKs Yariv Levin and Ze'ev Elkin (Likud), will be debated at the Ministerial Committee for Legislation next week. It was supposed to be debated today (Sunday) but the controversy around it caused the discussion to be postponed by one week.

"It is strange that ministers from the Likud are enlisting to take down the law calling for vetting of judges," said the normally soft spoken and uncontroversial former Mathematics professor. The Supreme Court has got to truly reflect the variety of opinions in Israeli society and it is a grave matter that Likud ministers are voted in by right-wing voters but some of them consistently serve the Left."

Hershkovitz is believed to be referring to Ministers Gideon Sa'ar, Michael Eitan, Dan Meridor and Benny Begin, who opposed the vetting of judges. Min. Sa'ar said Sunday that the bill would take away the unlimited authority to appoint judges from the Committee for Appointment of Judges and give it to the Knesset's Law, Constitution and Justice Committee.

Sa'ar called the bill "dangerous" and warned that it would lead to a politicization of the process of selecting Supreme Court judges, and turn the Supreme Court into a subservient arm of the political majority, which changes from time to time." 

Proponents of the bill say that the United States Senate vets Supreme Court Justice nominees and it, too, is a political body.

Education Minister Sa'ar was aide to Dorit Beinisch and Edna Arbel -- now both Supreme Court judges -- at the beginning of his law career. He is also considered very close to MK Shelly Yechimovich, who heads the Labor party. Beinisch, Arbel and Yechimovich are described by seasoned observers as very close friends who toe the same leftist and militant feminist line.