Supreme Court President Justice Asher Dan Grunis and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni have announced that Judge Nissim Yeshaya has requested to resign after he said that "some girls like to be raped" at a rape appeal court meeting.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu decided to withdraw his support for Yeshaya to head the Likud's internal court, calling Yeshaya's comment "unacceptable."
"A man who says such things is unfit to serve as the head of the Likud's court," said Netanyahu, who will now have to find a replacement candidate in the June 27 race.
The district court judge's comment was made during an appeal of a court ruling on the rape six years ago of a 13-year-old girl by four Palestinian youths from the Shuafat refugee camp, Army Radio reported.
On Monday, the girl appealed the Defense Ministry's decision not to acknowledge the rape as a terrorist attack at the Tel Aviv District Court.
"In the heat of the discussion, he [Yeshaya] suddenly said out loud 'some girls like to be raped,'" attorney Roni Sdovnik told Army Radio.
His comment was met with stunned silence in the courtroom, Sdovnik said. "He didn't even understand what he was saying, he didn't understand why everyone were silent."
The court said in a statement that the judge's comments "were not intended to hurt or disrespect rape victims. The judge apologizes for his comment."
Yeshaya will be called for an inquiry on the incident in the coming days, the statement went on to say.
"It's inconceivable that judges in the justice system, that is supposed to protect the victims, run it in a backwards, shameless and irresponsible manner," Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On said.
Gal-On called for a "thorough clean up of the justice system" from judges with such worldviews.
"I am bothered by the court's response. The point is not whether or not [the judge] intended to hurt anyone but the fact this is his view," Yesh Atid MK Aliza Lavie said.
MK Orly Levy-Abecassis (Yisrael Beytenu) castigated Yeshaya, saying the contempt shown in his comment "disgraces the court."
Yeshaya defended himself, saying that his words were taken out of context.
"This is twisted and was taken out of context," he told Channel 2. "This was not a rape trial. I am retired and this was a non-formal hearing in the social security's appeals committee," he added.
"There was an argument because she [the lawyer] says the girl she represents was raped a few years ago and claims this is a terrorist act. I presented this as an example. I said, 'if there's a rape victim that was not hurt and enjoyed the rape, then so and so,' and she [the lawyer] twisted it," he explained.