The Supreme Court in Jerusalem hearing a case..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Women continue to become dominant in the legal profession in Israel. Out of 20 judges President Reuven Rivlin appointed on Thursday, 12 were women. One of the women, Majda Jubran Murkus was also one of three Arab judges appointed to district courts in Haifa and the North. The ratio is seldom that high, and is indicative of efforts that are being made to integrate Arab citizens into mainstream Israel.
The other 17 judges were appointed to labor, district, and magistrate’s courts in various parts of the country.
Rivlin told the new judges that they had been given the ability to decide on the fate of individuals, and cautioned them that their decisions should be based not on logic but on moral courage.
Referring to calls from the public for sentences to be heavier than those meted out by the courts, Rivlin said that in a healthy society “we should not be concerned with vengeance, but with how to punish someone without humiliating them and with the aim of rehabilitating them so that they can be productive members of society.”
Supreme Court President Miriam Naor, referring to the pledge made by each judge to judge fairly and not to show favor, said that for some of the new judges this was a first-time pledge. She herself had made the pledge five times, she said, and each time it was exciting and inspiring with something new and different in its meaning.
The most important goal for a judge, she said, was justice, and in order to achieve this, the judge had to be fair and objective. There are many layers between law and justice, she noted, depending on whether or not the system in a country is democratic. She urged the judges to explore every avenue in order to arrive at a just decision.
Quoting Lord Acton, who famously said some 150 years ago that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked warned that judges must be especially careful in this respect.
National Labor Court President Yigal Plitman spoke of the important contribution that the Labor Court has made to social justice.