Israeli attorney: Double number of Supreme Court justices

Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir calls on Justice Minister to 'change rules of game,' double number of Supreme Court justices.

Yedidya Ben-Or ,

Israel's Supreme Court
Israel's Supreme Court
David Vaknin, Flash 90

Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir called on Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) to "change the rules of the game" and double the number of Supreme Court justices.

This weekend, the Makor Rishon Hebrew newspaper pointed out that the one Supreme Court justice who lives in the Judea and Samaria region, Judge Noam Solberg of Gush Etzion, was chosen only three times to be one of the three justices manning the panels sitting on the tens of cases dealing with Judea and Samaria - and of those three cases, two were minor. The courts responded, telling the newspaper that the choice of justices for a specific case is random.

Responding to Shaked's appearance on Channel 2's "Meet the Israeli Press" program, Ben-Gvir said, "It's time we understood that it's not about this Regulation Law or that one, and it's not about making laws which limit the Supreme Court's power.

"The Supreme Court will insist their justices avoid dealing with these laws. After all, they can simply say the laws are unconstitutional, and any right-wing attempts to change the status quo will be shot down.

"A small change which can easily be approved by the Knesset's Constitution Law and Justice Committee can easily change the number of justices in Israel's Supreme Court. The Justice Minister can raise the number of justices even to thirty.

"This committee has a right-wing majority even without the Kulanu party. A change in the number of justices, along with a change in the 'Gideon Sa'ar Law' which allows the Supreme Court to veto the appointment of justices, will allow Justice Minister Shaked to appoint 15 new Supreme Court justices who will completely change the court's makeup.

"I very much admire Shaked, and regardless of our ideological differences, I think she's a very talented minister. She has good intentions and she appoints good people to Israel's courts. But she needs to understand that we've reached the point where we need to make some decisions.

"We can't continue doing what we've been doing. Most of the Supreme Court justices have the same background and same world views, and they also have the same very clear agenda.

"Today we have a situation in which the Justice Minister has to fight to appoint a single right-wing judge whom she has the right to appoint. Even if she succeeds, it's only one candidate, and there are four who need to appointed. We need think out of the box and use this golden opportunity to completely change the Supreme Court's makeup. Otherwise, we'll continue playing the same game over and over."

Ben-Gvir also emphasized the practical benefits of appointing more justices to the Supreme Court.

"Today there are many petitions and discussions in the Supreme Court," he said. "Without a doubt, it is one of the busiest courts in the world. Adding more justices will allow the court to function more efficiently and lessen the burden on each individual justice.

"It's the right thing to do, and more importantly, it's the best step for the Justice Minister to take right now," he concluded.