'I always knew your motives were pure'

Justice Minister's speech to retiring Supreme Court Chief Justice Naor notes their mutual respect despite differences of opinion.

Ayelet Shaked ,

Ayelet Shaked
Ayelet Shaked
Hadas Porush, Flash 90

Today I want to start from the beginning. And the beginning, for you, is Jerusalem. It would not be an exaggeration to say that your personal story is a summary of the Zionist story. Your life story matches the life story of the State of Israel.

You were born before the founding of the State. You were one of the last children to be born on Mount Scopus before the city was torn apart for the next nineteen years, until its reunification.

In the terror attack on Jerusalem's Ben Yehuda Street - one of the first and worst terror attacks Jerusalem ever knew - a wall fell on the stroller you were lying in. By a miracle, you escaped unscathed. The "Minister of History" wanted you to be great, and even He understood that your story could not end that way.

Since then, you have felt protected from all evil when you were in Jerusalem. Last Independence Day, you experienced the city's reunification with emotion, and you wrote, "I have merited my dream coming true. Jerusalem is unified. We have returned to the Western Wall, to the Temple Mount, to the Old City's alleyways, to Mount Scopus, and to my grandfather's grave on the Mount of Olives... My Jerusalem is amazing and wonderful."

You held an inner connection to the city which our Sages called the center of the world. You never left it, and you spent your entire rich professional life here, in your Jerusalem. Symbolically, as you leave office today, we celebrate fifty years of Jerusalem's reunification, and 70 years since the founding of the State of Israel. And we mark the end of an era of judges who were born before the founding of the State.


When I was chosen as Justice Minister, I was warned. They warned me that the justice system would make my life difficult. They warned me of battles former Justice Minsiters fought with the Supreme Court Chief Justices, and said those battles were nothing compared to what I would fight. They suggested I take a deep breath, and enter with energy for battle. That's what they said.

Despite our age differences, I felt the moment we met that we were old friends. Working with you was enjoyable, fruitful, and dignified. It's no secret that we disagree on many things, but we always knew how to handle our disagreements properly and respectfully. And when I say "properly," I mean that we both cared for the good of the People of Israel and the State of Israel. This was our starting point.


It is difficult to describe your rulings. It's impossible to catalog the way you ran the court, because you are so far from traditional stereotypes. You approached each case with an open mind, without a preconceived opinion, and you turned over every stone, investigating every detail. Sometimes I agreed with your rulings, and sometimes I did not. But I always knew that your motives were pure, and that each decision represented what you believed was best.


Under your judge's robe is a sensitive and empathetic person. A little bird told me that those working under you do not see you simply as their boss. You were there with them during their best times and their worst. They saw you as someone to go to for advice, as someone to lean on, and not just for work-related issues.


You were born to fighters: Your mother was a member of the Irgun, your father was a member of Haganah.

You are known for your love of your homeland, and this love left its mark on your rulings.

When you were first appointed as a judge, you turned to Justice Moshe Landau, the fifth Supreme Court Chief Justice, asking for his blessing and advice. He told you that a judge deals with several cases each day, but must always remember that each case is the only case for the parties, and must see each case as an entire world.

In your 37 years as a judge...you paid complete attention to each case, and invested in each one as if it were your first day in court.


You do not leave here alone.

It is customary to say that 'hasidim never separate.' At this emotional moment, I will adopt the hasidic custom, and I will not separate from you. I hope you continue to do good for the State of Israel, and to reap satisfaction and happiness together with your husband, children, and grandchildren.

In the name of the State of Israel, in the name of Israel's government, thank you.