High Court: No blocking scientist appointment because of political views

Scientist with left-wing views was initially blocked from government appointment by Minister Ofir Akunis.

March 5, 2019 00:28
1 minute read.
JPost Annual Conference 2017

Ofir Akunis at the JPost Annual Conference 2017 . (photo credit: SIVAN FARAG)


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Space, Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis cannot veto the appointment of a woman to a government scientist role due to her political views, the High Court of Justice ruled on Monday.

More specifically, Akunis had blocked the appointment of Yael Amitai because in 2002, she signed a petition supporting those who refuse to serve in the IDF, reflecting her personal, left-wing political views.
Though Amitai herself served and her children have served in the IDF, the statement she signed was 17 years ago and her scientist role would not play into any of her political views, Akunis vetoed her appointment, saying that her signing the petition was equivalent to the crime of refusal to serve.

The High Court rejected Akunis’s view, instead adopting Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit’s position that no crime was committed and that politics could not impact on appointment to bureaucratic roles like a government scientist position.

However, by 2-1 vote, the High Court did not order Akunis to complete Amitai’s appointment, but rather sent the issue back to him with an instruction that he could not void her appointment on the basis he put forth.

Justices Neal Hendel and Alex Stine supported this ruling, whereas Justice George Kara said that the court should have ordered Amitai’s immediate appointment.

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