President Shimon Peres has voiced sharp criticism over “price-tag” crimes. At a swearing- in ceremony for 26 judges and court registrars at his official residence on Tuesday, Peres lambasted lawbreakers who violate holy places, cause injury to others, damage property and uproot trees on the basis of nationalist ideology.
These phenomena have been called price-tag crimes, he said, a term that comes from the world of commerce.
But acting against moral values and the rule of law is not a commercial matter, he insisted, and law enforcement agencies must take the sternest measures within the framework of the law to put a stop to such practices.
In a reference to the upcoming Passover festival, Peres said that it symbolized the significance of freedom as a priority for all humanity. The crossing of the Red Sea was the first transition from slavery to freedom, he said, but unfortunately there are still millions of people around the world who are still slaves and who suffer deprivation, humiliation and discrimination.
Supreme Court President Asher D. Grunis and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni focused their comments on ethics, human dignity, human rights and democracy.
Grunis cautioned the judges to remember that they must be paradigms at all times.
“Even when you leave the courtroom, you are still judges,” he told them.
He also noted that judges have to adapt to changing norms without sacrificing their ethical values. As an example, he cited social media, saying that there had been considerable discussion as to whether judges should be permitted to open Facebook accounts. In the final analysis, it was decided that they could, but they had to be very circumspect and to remember their status.
Livni told the judges that they must bear in mind that the decisions they make affect people’s lives, and that they must remember to treat all people with dignity and endeavor to cut the length of time that people have to spend in court and await a verdict.
Judging cases has become increasingly complex and demands more transparency, she said.
Of the 26 appointees, 22 were judges and four were court registrars. Eight were appointed to district courts, 11 to magistrate’s courts and three to traffic courts. Fourteen of the appointees were women.