'What does political bias smell like, Ms. Chief Justice?'

Supreme Court Chief Justice defends refusal to attend official state ceremony in Gush Etzion celebrating 50 years since liberation of Judea.

Gary Willig ,

Miriam Naor
Miriam Naor
Flash 90

The Regavim movement slammed the Supreme Court's response to its petition against the court's decision to boycott the the ceremony in Gush Etzion marking the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Judea and Samaria, Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley, and the Golan Heights.

On Tuesday morning, Supreme Court Chief Justice Miriam Naor decided to cancel participation of Judge Neal Hendel as the judiciary's representative at the ceremony initiated by an official decision of the government of Israel.

Attorney Avi Segal of Regavim submitted an official petition to the Supreme Court against the president's directive on the grounds that the participation of staff members in state ceremonies is a "constitutional practice" of binding force.

Cief Justice Naor responded to the petition by stating: "The Chief Justice stresses that the Court System participates and will continue to participate in state ceremonies as a matter of course and to honr them with the attendance of a senior member of the judiciary. That being said, the judiciary abstains from participation in any event that is controversial or politically one-sided."

"Chief Justice Miriam Naor’s response to the motion filed by Regavim is another example of Israel’s Judicial Branch overstepping its boundaries," Regavim responded. "The only body empowered with the authority to decide whether or not a ceremony is an official state event is the Government of Israel, the Executive Branch."

Regavim noted that Justice Naor had herself participated in a ceremony that was very one-sided politically. "Chief Justice Naor’s response raises even greater questions in light of her participation in a December 2016 conference at The Jerusalem Ethics Center, an organization headed by Ruth Heshin, board member of Yesh Din, a radical-left NGO. At that event, which was undeniably politicized, both the organizers and the speakers were clearly identified with the radical left wing of Israel’s political spectrum – but this did not seem to perturb Chief Justice Naor or to cause her any of the discomfort she is currently experiencing as a result of “the aroma of politicization.”"

"It is unfortunate that specifically regarding an official state ceremony, created by an Executive Decision of the Government of Israel, celebrating 50 years since the liberation of Judea, Samaria, the Golan, and the Jordan Valley, Chief Justice Naor suddenly feels compelled to inspect the political affiliation of the event’s speakers."