Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
MK Avi Nissenkorn (Blue&White) is expected to be appointed Justice Minister

A major gap exists between the Likud and Blue&White parties in their coalition negotiations around the issue of the Judicial Selection Committee, Reshet Bet radio reported Sunday morning.

According to the Basic Law: The Judiciary, the Judicial Selection Committee has nine members, who are picked as follows: the Justice Minister, who heads the committee, and another government minister; two MKs – and since 1992 it has been customary to appoint one MK from the coalition and one from the opposition; two members of the Bar Association who are elected in a secret ballot; the President of the Supreme Court, and two additional Supreme Court justices.

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Likud now demands to get both MKs, the one from the coalition as well as the opposition MK. And since MK Avi Nissenkorn (Blue&White) is expected to be appointed Justice Minister, Likud insists that the other minister be added to the two MKs, all three from the right.

The goal is to hand Likud the right to veto the committee’s appointments on the Supreme Court. Unlike the election of Magistrate’s Court and District Court judges, where a simple majority in the committee is enough, in selecting Supreme Court justices, a special majority of seven out of the nine members of the committee is required, which Likud could torpedo with its three votes.

Ronen Tzur, Advisor to Blue&White Chairman Benny Gantz, addressed the issue on Reshet Bet Sunday morning, saying: “The negotiations are very difficult. There will be not be an agreement at all costs.”

Tzur added that on all the issues, including the appointment of judges and imposing Israeli sovereignty over the settlements, “There is an insistence on the part of [our] experienced team to anchor things with guarantees and collaterals that will not allow a deviation from what has been agreed.”

Yamina MK Ayelet Shaked, the first rightwing politician who managed to slightly change the activist direction of the Supreme Court, responded to Tzur’s interview on Twitter, saying: “In the upcoming term, at least 4 judges will be appointed to the Supreme Court. This is a historic opportunity to formulate a conservative majority. Giving up this opportunity will go down in infamy.”

“Rome was not built in one day, and a revolution is not completed in one term,” Shaked continued. “Handing over the Justice Ministry to the left means not only stopping the revolution but going backwards to the days when the justices cloned themselves. Handing over the Justice Ministry to the left means restoring the Justices’ control over the Judicial Selection Committee.”

“During my tenure as Justice Minister, [former Supreme Court President] Aharon Barak said that there was a time when the Justice Ministers knew their place,” Shaked recalled. “He explained that the ministers always voted with him on the selection committee, saying, ‘We don’t understand this, so you appoint whomever you like.'”

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