PRESIDENT REUVEN RIVLIN speaks at an Iftar meal on Sunday at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem. (.
(photo credit: AMOS BEN GERSHOM, GPO)
Following declarations by the president, the prime minister and other influential public figures on the ideal of equality without racial, religious or gender discrimination, it looks as if Israel is moving toward the realization of such aspirations.
At the appointments ceremony at the President’s Residence on Thursday, 16 new judges and court registrars pledged their allegiance to the State of Israel and its laws, to dispense justice fairly and not to show favor. There seemed to be an aura of affirmative action.
Of the four district court judges, 10 magistrate’s court judges and two senior court registrars, 10 were women, and among the total 16 appointees there were four Arabs. In the past, it was rare to have more than one Arab in the new crop of judges, and often there were none. There were also two Arabs on the appointments committee.
Women in Israel’s legal profession broke through the glass ceiling a long time ago, and for some years now have occupied senior positions. What could well have been labeled female pride manifested itself in the presence of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, who is Israel’s second female justice minister, and Supreme Court President Miriam Naor, who likewise is Israel’s second female president of the court.
In the addresses delivered by President Reuven Rivlin, Naor and Shaked, all three referred to the power that judges have over the litigants who appear before them.
Rivlin appealed to the judges not to deprive litigants of their humanity and to remember that they held their fates in their hands. He urged that while ruling fairly, judges should nonetheless remember to exercise compassion and not pass sentences which are too harsh.
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