Maj. Sigal Turgeman shakes hands with President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem, as Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, Supreme Court President Miriam Naor and Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot look on.
(photo credit: MARK NEYMAN / GPO)
Brig.-Gen. Doron Peles, the deputy president of the Military Appeals Court, was appointed president of the court at a ceremony at the President’s Residence on Monday.
He was promoted to the rank of major-general, succeeding Shai Yaniv. Yaniv was Israel’s youngest- ever judge, having been appointed at the age of 28. He was recently appointed to serve as a judge in the Tel Aviv District Court.
Like Yaniv, Peles has served in various roles in the legal system.
In addition to Peles, three other IDF officers were appointed to serve as military court judges.
They were Maj. Michal Ambram Shahar, Maj. Meir Vigeiser and Maj. Sigal Turgeman Hazan.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, military judges, members of the IDF’s legal network, Supreme Court President Miriam Naor and National Labor Court President Yigal Plitman, Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen.
Gadi Eisenkot, Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit, as well as prominent figures in the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and Prisons Service were in attendance.
President Reuven Rivlin, speaking at the event, said that come what may, the judicial system of the IDF is anchored in the Military Justice Law enacted by the Knesset in 1955 and accepted by Israel’s democratic institutions. This law specifies the structure, jurisdiction and procedure of the military courts.
“You operate from the strength of this law and are obligated by its instructions and its spirit,” Rivlin told the new appointees. Aware of the complexities and challenges of the situations confronting military judges, Rivlin said that the presence of the defense minister and the chief of staff and the military elite were testimony to their esteem for the professionalism of the military courts, the independence of the military’s legal network and the excellence of the judges.
Also speaking at the ceremony, Liberman expressed every confidence in the judges and urged them to ignore what he called “background noises” and the many interpretations of justice by so-called experts. He said he knew that the judges were conscious of the weight of responsibility that they had been given and he was certain that they would carry out their duties with distinction. Liberman also thanked Yaniv for his outstanding service in the IDF.
Peles noted that each of the judges in the military courts was also an IDF officer with intimate knowledge of every branch of the military and thorough familiarity with the trials and tribulations of soldiers, their distress, their doubts, their fears and the many backgrounds from which they come.
Military judges understand both the law and the spirit of the IDF and its values, he said.
Eisenkot, together with Peles’s wife, Nurit, pinned his new rank to his epaulets while his three children looked on, and the audience applauded with gusto.