A gold-painted statue of Supreme Court President Miriam Naor was erected on Thursday night in front of the courthouse in Givat Ram in Jerusalem. The artist’s identity is unknown, but there’s no doubt about his or her sense of humor. The court’s security guards—not nearly as able in the humor dept.—reported the artistic offense to police which launched an investigation that includes forensics officers.
Last year, a similar golden statue, of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was placed in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, outside City Hall. It was the work of Itai Zlait, who claimed it was not a political exhibit, but an attempt to provoke a discourse on the boundaries of freedom of expression. A short time later, municipal inspectors posted a demand for evacuation on the statue, and a few hours later it was felled by a local man who expressed his own freedom of expression.
Naor has served as Court President since January 2015 and will retire next October when she turns 70. Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) announced that Naor’s replacement will be, as planned, Justice Esther Hayut, despite the Minister’s desire to change the seniority system that governs the appointment.
One explanation as to why the mocking statue was erected this time would be that it is a protest against Naor’s decision to side with the government—with some modifications—on the power of the Interior Minister to deport illegal migrants. Over the weekend there was a demonstration in front of Naor’s home, ahead of the deliberation this week in an expanded Supreme Court panel that she chaired.