Yigal Gueta
Yigal GuetaFlash 90

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked sparred with MK Yigal Gueta (Shas) in a Knesset discussion Wednesday.

During the course of a discussion about Shaked's recommended candidates for the High Court, Gueta claimed that none of them hailed from Mizrahi (Sephardic) backgrounds.

Gueta claimed that "thirteen High Court chief justices had served until now, none of whom was from a Mizrahi background. Out of twenty eight potential candidates for High Court justices, there are only three Sephardic candidates."

"Last week, Minister Shaked opposed a legislative proposal to maintain a proper representation for Sephardim in the Broadcasting Corporation, stating that she did not know how they would behave with reference to her as she is of mixed Sephardic and Ashkenazic parentage. Shaked said that she did not know whether she could represent Sephardim, and I say to you, Minister Shaked, that you cannot represent them. A Sephardi is not just a family name, it is a heritage and a Sephardic soul. The proof is that not one of your five proposed candidates is Sephardic."

Gueta added that the Sephardic community does not have equitable representation in the courts. "It is unthinkable that in a civilized society in which the Sephardic community numbers more than fifty percent, there should be less than ten percent representation for them on the High Court." Gueta added that in the High Court today there is an "aristocratic elite which does not just rule in complex legal cases but also maintains policies, rules on public issues and decides what is right or wrong, what is proper or improper."

During the course of Shaked's attempts to promote her candidates the Chief Justice told her that she had "placed a gun on the table." Gueta said this reminded him of a well known statement by Al Capone "You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone." Gueta added that he would continue to fight for the rights of Sephardim with a kind word but "just as the Chief Justice said, we may unwillingly place a gun on the table when necessary."

Shaked did not like Gueta's tone and claimed that he was prevaricating. An official statement from her office said that "MK Gueta is a pathological liar who embarrasses the movement he is a member of. He should recant his words. There are excellent Sephardic candidates for the High Court."