National Labor Court sees a changing of the guard

Contrary to usual practice, the ceremony was held in the small reception hall that leads to the office of President Shimon Peres.

November 16, 2010 04:36
3 minute read.
Judge Nili Arad, National Labor Court president

Labor Court President Judge Nili Arad 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

Appointment ceremonies at Beit Hanassi are usually crowded and formal affairs, especially those for judges, where as many as 20 are appointed at one time to serve in different courts around the country.

The family of each new appointee, plus retired and serving judges and representatives of the Justice Ministry also attend, and on occasion this has caused a lot of crowding in Beit Hanassi’s main reception hall.

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The appointment on Monday of Judge Nili Arad as president of the National Labor Court was a much more intimate affair, attended mainly by four generations her family and her black-robed National Labor Court colleagues.

Contrary to usual practice, the ceremony was held in the small reception hall that leads to the office of President Shimon Peres.

Participants, including Arad’s five-and-a-half year old grandson Or, arrived well ahead of time. He proudly announced to all and sundry: “This is MY grandma!” Having seen everything there was to see he became a little impatient and asked: “Where’s the president?” Or’s curiosity was satisfied a few minutes later when Peres appeared, flanked by Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch, Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman and Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer.

Arad stood as Courts Administration director-general Moshe Gal read her curriculum vitae that attested to her wide ranging experience in the legal system, after which she signed a pledge that elsewhere would be interpreted as an oath of allegiance.

Peres noted that she had been the first woman to serve as director-general of the Justice Ministry and now she was the first woman to serve as president of the National Labor Court.

Peres said that in today’s global environment it was not enough to be well versed in the labor laws of one’s own country. One has to know those of other countries as well. Moreover a national labor court judge, particularly in the role of president, must be able to tread the fine line between fairness to the worker and fairness to the employer to ensure that capital keeps rolling so that more jobs can be created, he said.

Peres expressed appreciation to the court’s outgoing President Steve Adler, who he said has served the state with loyalty and wisdom and has made an enormous contribution to the development of the labor courts.

Beinisch, who is both a personal friend and longtime colleague of Arad’s, said that she had been in a position to observe Arad at work and to take note of the extent to which Arad concerned herself not only with the rules and regulations, but with the humans beings affected by the law and by her rulings.

Adler had made a phenomenal contribution to labor relations in Israel, Beinisch said.

Neeman recalled that when he had previously been justice minister and had appointed Arad as director-general of the ministry, people had asked him how he could take such a risk, given that Arad had no administrative experience.

Before he had been minister, he had appeared in a sensitive case involving the right of bereaved parents and siblings to have more on the inscription on the tomb of a dead soldier than the IDF allowed. The wanted the names of the soldier’s brother and sister on the headstone. The IDF was adamantly opposed.

When Neeman saw the manner in which Arad had handled the case he was impressed; and when the time came to appoint a director-general, he decided that someone with as good a heart as Arad’s would make a good manager.

Neeman lauded Adler’s gift for mediation and said that he had made significant changes for the good in the Labor Court system.

Ben-Eliezer said he never had to worry about anything while Adler was at the helm of the court, and he urged her to walk in Adler’s footsteps.

Turning to Adler he said, “You’ve received a lot of compliments today, but the bottom line is that you’re a good and decent man.”

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