In February, previously unpublished protocols disclosed that Supreme Court
President Asher D. Grunis had told other members of the judicial appointments
committee that certain judges were like a “ticking bomb” waiting to go off and
that the “public was paying a price for it.”
One of those bombs may have
exploded on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, Tel Aviv District Court Judge Nissim
Yeshaya was caught either explicitly or implicitly telling a rape victim that
some women enjoy being raped.
While Yeshaya correctly pointed out in the
initial hours after he started to be attacked that the context of his statement
was an appeal on an insurance issue of whether the victim would get paid extra
state money by being recognized as a terror victim, not comments on the rape
case itself, his decision late on Wednesday to resign showed that he had more
fully internalized the damage of his comment.
But the idea that a judge
could make such a comment in this day and age and that the initial court
response would be to contain the damage, appears to indicate that there truly
may be ticking time-bombs on the bench.
Other recent judge-related
scandals have included a judge who told a police prosecutor that she could “find
a zayin quickly,” a reference to the first letter of the defendant’s name, but
also slang for a penis (he resigned), one accused of beating his children
(despite his partial admissions, the case against him was closed) and the
extradition of a judge to Israel from South America who had fled prosecution for fraud
(currently awaiting trial).
When the protocols of Grunis’s comment were
published, the director-general of the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, Nahi
Eyal, wrote to Grunis that the public should not need to suffer from judges who
were unfit, but were not forced to retire because of considerations regarding
According to the forum and the protocols of the Judicial
Appointments Committee, some “unfit” judges have not been dismissed because of
concerns that their pensions would be harmed by forced early retirement or
At the time, the courts spokeswoman responded to the
allegations, saying that the “issue of pension rights of judges requires
investigation” and that the Knesset Finance Committee must address the pension
If the courts want to avoid further similar embarrassments, it
might consider the forum’s critique and speed up investigation of the issue. •
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