Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann rejected on Sunday claims that his proposed reforms to the Supreme Court justice appointment process were a response to Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch's refusal to appoint Friedmann's friend Judge Nili Cohen to the bench.
Friedmann said he had the full backing of the prime minister, and that anyone who criticized him was dragging serious issues down to a personal level because they were unable or unwilling to address them.
Moreover, Friedmann added, since he was appointed justice minister, 60 new judges had been sworn in and the ministry had decided to build a new district court. All of his actions, Friedmann said, were meant to move the legal system forward.
Friedmann said that he would not replace Beinisch as Supreme Court president because he did not want to create problems in the courts. There would be no cut to Beinisch's authority as president, Freidmann said.
The justice minister also called for public debate on the authority of the High Court of Justice. For years, he said, there had been agreement in Israel that some issues were not the purview of the High Court. All of a sudden, he said, that convention had been turned upside down.
Friedmann said that Beinisch had made public a stinging letter responding to his proposed reforms. In response, Beinisch's office argued that Friedmann, when he proposed to establish a committee to appoint new Supreme Court justices, had also made his proposal public immediately.
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