The Movement for Quality Government in Israel demanded in an appeal to the High Court on Thursday that a key ally to Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked be removed from the committee that chooses Israel's justices.
According to the appeal, Israel Bar Association Chairman Effie Naveh should not be allowed to choose judges when he himself is under a bizarre police investigation for allegedly smuggling an acquaintance into Israel without passing passport control.
"The continued tenure of Naveh in the Judicial Appointments Committee undermines public trust, erodes the status of the committee and damages its image, its work and its prestige," reads the petition.
The nine-member Judicial Appointments Committee, headed by the Justice Minister, is responsible for all judicial appointments in Israel. Aside from the Justice Minister, the committee is composed of an additional cabinet minister, two MKs, including one from the opposition, two Bar Association representatives, and three Supreme Court justices, including the Chief Justice.
The committee needs a majority of 7 out of its 9 members to appoint Supreme Court judges. Since neither political camp has such a majority, deals need to be struck between them. As such, Israel Bar Association Chairman Effie Naveh has served as a key swing vote to confirming Shaked's conservative nominees.
The partnership between Naveh and Shaked has enabled the justice minister to enact widespread changes in the judiciary. Since Shaked was appointed three years ago, 147 new judges have been appointed, another 115 judges have been promoted and six of the 15 Supreme Court justices have been replaced.
However, a strange criminal investigation into Naveh may put an end to the cooperation. Last week, Naveh was arrested at Ben Gurion Airport for allegedly enabling unidentified women to enter the country without a passport. Naveh says that the incident was part of an ugly divorce he is going through, adding that he had only smuggled in the woman in order to avoid tipping off private investigators that she had entered the country.
On Monday, Hadashot reported that Naveh will be indicted after he admitted to the charges during a police interrogation.
In his first public remarks on the incident, Naveh said last week that he will not take part in the next Judicial Appointments Committee meeting, leaving Shaked without a crucial swing vote.
"If the open probe is not closed by November 23, the date of the next meeting of the Judicial Selection Committee, of course, I will not take part in the meeting," said Naveh.
According to the prominent attorney, "many of the publications about my interrogation are false and false, but at this time my hands are tied and I can not respond."
"I am confident that at the end of the process, the investigation file will be closed and I will also present you with the full story, which will reveal a completely different picture from what is currently reflected in the media."