President Shimon Peres called for more money to be invested in the courts and other law-enforcement agencies Thursday, at a swearing-in ceremony for 13 new judges.
"Israel may not be the number one crime country in the world," the president conceded, "but it's not at the bottom of the list either."
"While the media concerns itself with political corruption, and indeed it is indisputable that integrity is the basic tenet of public service," he said, "the public are no less concerned about the high incidence of crime."
He cited examples such as organized crime, car-theft, stabbings and violence against women as some of the crimes which are increasingly prevalent in Israeli society.
The very fact that the expression "crime families" had become so familiar to Israelis was horrifying, the President said.
Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch called on the new recruits "never to lose sight of human rights or even of the rights of the convicted, even while waging war on terror."
Israel required a very strong judiciary in order to act according to such principles given the sensitivity of the current political climate, she said.
Beinisch also instructed the judges to make every effort to withstand external influences and pressures, while simultaneously remaining sensitive to public opinion and social and individual distress.
Eleven of the 13 new judges are native Israelis. The two exceptions are Jerusalem District Labor Court Judge Daniel Goldberg, who was born in the US, and Haifa Traffic Court Judge Meggi Cohen, a native of Argentina.
The other appointees were: Ronit Rosenfeld, National Labor Court; Yehiel Lifshitz, Haifa District Magistrates Court; Ibrahim Bulus, Northern District Magistrates Court; Ayelet Shomroni Bernstein, Haifa District Labor Court; Saeb Dabor, Northern District Magistrates Court; Ravit Tsadik, Tel Aviv District Labor Court; Hana Sabag, Northern District Magistrates Court; Nitzan Silman Haifa Family Court; Ami Kobo, Central District Magistrates Court; Shado Nashef Abu-Ahmad, Northern District Magistrates Court; and Mordechai Kadourie, Jerusalem Traffic Court.
Speaking on behalf of her fellow judges, Rosenfeld stressed their obligation to uphold democratic values, the importance of social security, and the need to exercise the moral conscience of the state in protecting the rights of foreign workers.