Israeli Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch will allegedly renege on an agreement she made with members of the panel of nominating judges, and support Sephardic former-Attorney General Menachem Mazuz to the court, rather than nationalist-leaning Jerusalem District Judge Noam Solberg.
Discussion of the upcoming appointment of a new justice has often centered around the political and ideological propensities of the candidates. While the High Court is considered secular and liberal, the country’s citizens have been voting more nationalist and religious.
Beinisch has been criticized as a highly-politicized left-leaning judge. Solberg, who has been favored as a potential shift away from anti-nationalism, is religious, and resides in the Gush Etzion community of Alon Shvut. He had been nominated to take over for Mazuz has Attorney General in 2009, but was ultimately turned down.
Under the original deal, Jerusalem District Court Judge Tzvi Sylbertal, who is close to Beinisch, would be appointed to the court along with Solberg, and Tel Aviv District Court President Dvora Berliner would be appointed to the High Court of Justice.
Now, it appears Beinisch will stymie the deal, and delay the process by seeking to introduce new candidates, particularly Sephardic ones in light of the retirement of Judge Edmond Levy, the Court’s one Sephardic judge. Beinisch is retiring in February, which makes this her last opportunity to influence the outcome of a new Supreme Court appointment. Analysts suggest that Mazuz will be a difficult candidate to disregard – regardless of whether he is qualified – because he fulfills the implicit need to include a Sephardic Jew on the Court roster.
The law regarding selecting Supreme Court judges requires a 30-day waiting period after the submission of a candidate, to allow the public to voice objections.