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The ultra-leftist “Rehavia Gang” that has controlled Israel’s Supreme Court for 16 years is on its way out, says muckraking journalist Yoav Yitzchak, on the News1 website.
“The great revolution that many good people have been waiting for is taking place at this very moment,” Yitzchak told his readers. “The ‘Rehavia Gang’… is losing de facto control over the process of appointments to the most important bastion of all – the Supreme Court.”
The two most notorious representatives of the ‘gang’ – named after the pricey section of Jerusalem where most of its members reside – are present Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch and her predecessor, Aharon Barak.
Barak was the father of the approach known as “judicial activism” which had as its motto “everything is justiciable.” Under his leadership, the court saw itself as an alternative government to the elected one, ruling certain laws passed by the Knesset unconstitutional (although Israel has no constitution yet) and striking down key decisions made by the Elections Commission. Beinisch continued in this line.
Beinisch completes her term on February 28, 2012 – less than nine months from today. Another veteran judge, Edmund Levy, will retire in October 2011.
According to Yitzchak, Justice Minister Yaakov Ne’eman is deliberately delaying the appointment of a replacement to Judge Ayala Procaccia, who recently retired. He intends to wait with the appointment until early 2012, because Beinisch’s influence will be on the wane by then. At that time, he will appoint three judges at a go, to replace Beinisch, Levy and Procaccia.
According to the Israeli Supreme Court’s seniority system, Beinisch will be replaced by Judge Miriam Naor. Naor is a more reasonable person and less of a schemer than Beinisch, explained Yitzchak, and Ne’eman believes he will be able to work more easily with her. She is also less of an enemy of the religious sector, he added. Her husband is Aryeh Naor, who served as Government Secretary under then Prime Minister Menachem Begin.
Polls show that public trust of the Israeli court system has plummeted sharply in the years since Barak's appointment in 1995. A 2010 poll published by Haaretz indicated that less than one third of the population trusts the court system.