Photo Credit: GPO
Israel's Judicial Selection Committee meets in Jerusalem for the first time in nearly two years on Feb. 20, 2024.

Israel’s Judicial Selection Committee met in Jerusalem, making permanent appointments for the first time in nearly two years and addressing a shortage of judges stemming from the political paralysis over the leftwing protests against the government’s judicial reform initiative.

Ten judges and six acting judges were appointed to the District Courts of Haifa and Nazareth and one judge was appointed to the Eilat Magistrate’s Court.


Additional judges for magistrates courts in those cities will be appointed on February 29.

The shortage of judges reaches the very top of the Israeli judiciary. Former Supreme Court President Esther Hayut and Justice Anat Baron stepped down from the court in October after turning 70, the maximum age for Israeli judges.

Justice Uzi Fogelman is serving as interim Court President until a permanent appointment is made.

Before the Gaza war, the governing coalition pursued a judicial reform initiative that included changes to the system for appointing and removing judges, giving the Knesset the ability to override certain High Court rulings, changing the way legal advisors are appointed to government ministries, and restricting the ability of judges to apply the legal principle of (subjective) reasonableness.

Supporters of the judicial reform say they wanted to end years of judicial overreach.

Amid the political standoff, Justice Minister Yariv Levin, the architect of the initiative, refused to convene the Judicial Selection Committee, leading to a nationwide shortage of judges and a growing backlog of cases.

The reform is currently suspended for the duration of the emergency wartime government. No legislative issues not related to the war will be pursued and senior appointments will be automatically extended.


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