Israel Bar Association chief resigns amid sex scandal

Effie Naveh, who reportedly appointed judges in exchange for sexual favors, resigns as head of the Israel Bar Association.

Tzvi Lev,

Effie Naveh
Effie Naveh
Flash 90

Effie Naveh, the powerful lawyer at the center of a sex scandal that is rocking Israel, resigned from his post as the head of the Israel Bar Association.

"I hereby announce my resignation from my position as head of the Bar Association," Naveh said in a statement. "I decided to do so because the office is very important and dear to me."

"I do not want my personal affairs - which I assume will end soon - to harm the Bar's important activity," Naveh added. "I thank all my friends and friends for the joint journey we have taken and wish success to those who come in my place."

Naveh was arrested on Wednesday amid suspicions that he pushed for the promotion of judges in exchange for sexual favors. Naveh is facing charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. He was released on bail on Wednesday evening under restrictive conditions.

As a member of the Judicial Appointments Committee, Naveh had significant sway in the appointment process for judges.

The nine-member Judicial Appointments Committee, headed by the Justice Minister, is responsible for all judicial appointments in Israel. Aside from the Justice Minister, the committee is composed of an additional cabinet minister, two MKs, including one from the opposition, two Bar Association representatives, and three Supreme Court justices, including the Chief Justice.

Naveh was also known for his close relationship with Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, which enabled the latter to swing the Supreme Court to the right. The committee needs a majority of 7 out of its 9 members to appoint Supreme Court judges. Since neither political camp has such a majority, deals need to be struck between them. As such, Naveh has served as a key swing vote to confirming Shaked's conservative nominees.

The partnership between Naveh and Shaked has enabled the justice minister to enact widespread changes in the judiciary. Since Shaked was appointed three years ago, 147 new judges have been appointed, another 115 judges have been promoted and six of the 15 Supreme Court justices have been replaced.

The scandal currently rocking Israel's judicial system is not Naveh's first brush with the law. Last month, Naveh was arrested at Ben Gurion Airport for allegedly enabling unidentified women to enter the country without a passport. Naveh claims that the incident was part of an ugly divorce he is going through, adding that he had only smuggled in the woman in order to avoid tipping off private investigators that she had entered the country.