(photo credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO)
For the second time in less than a month, President Reuven Rivlin presided over the appointments ceremony of judges and court registrars.
Last month there were 19 new appointees. This time there were 15.
At the ceremony on Monday, 11 judges were appointed to Magistrates’ Courts, two to Labor Courts, two to Traffic Courts and two will act as registrars in Magistrate’s Courts.
The common threads in addresses by Rivlin, Supreme Court President Asher Grunis, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and National Labor Court President Yigal Plitman were to judge righteously and fairly in the knowledge that all are equal before the Law; and when judging to be mindful of Jewish and democratic values, which Rivlin said cannot be separated, but are a fusion of each other.
Rivlin quoted Supreme Court president emeritus Aharon Barak, who believes that justice supersedes truth in preserving the dignity of the individual, whereas the opinion of late deputy Supreme Court president Menachem Elon (who was once a candidate for president of the state), was that justice was the outcome of the pursuit of truth.
The ceremony was the last of its kind in which Grunis, who will retire in a few weeks, attended in his present capacity. Livni reminded him that his period in office is not yet done and that he still has to sit on another appointments committee for new judges before he steps down. At the same time she praised his uncompromising integrity and defended the status of the Supreme Court.
Both Grunis and Livni expressed concern over growing violence, incitement, racism, hateful graffiti and most recently the dissemination via social media of public figures in SS uniforms. When such phenomena occur, said Livni, “you need judges in Jerusalem.” There is also a need for people who can read the writing on the wall that threatens the fabric of society, she said.
Referring to the previous day’s event at the President’s residence, in which official recognition was finally given to the expulsion of Jews from Arab lands and Iran, Livni noted that there are secondand third-generation Israelis who come from these backgrounds and who believe that they will never have equality because of their ancestry.
Similarly, members of the Druse and Circassian communities are protesting their impending lack of equality if the Jewish Nation State law is passed, said Livni.
The principles laid down in the Declaration of Independence must be the values that guide the nation, she insisted, while castigating those who want to change rules that are the backbone of the State of Israel.
It was not so much the wording of the proposed legislation which is troublesome, rather who will interpret them, she said.
Plitman emphasized that judges must always be conscious of social justice, which he said is becoming an increasingly urgent problem.
“Every human being has the right to live in dignity,” he stressed.