High Court of Justice 370.
(photo credit: yonah jeremy bob)
The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel asked on Tuesday that Supreme
Court President Asher D. Grunis act immediately to dismiss those judges
whom he had called a “ticking bomb” in closed-door meetings and whom the court
administration had declared unfit for duty.
The director-general of the
forum, Nahi Eyal, wrote to Grunis that the public should not need to suffer from
judges who were unfit, but were not forced to retire because of considerations
regarding their pensions.
The forum released a statement and published
protocols of meetings of top court officials, including Grunis, in which a list
of judges whose performance was viewed as defective enough to justify their
dismissal was discussed.
According to the forum and the protocols of the
Judicial Appointments Committee, those judges were not dismissed because of
concerns that their pensions would be harmed by forced early retirement or
On January 13, 2012, then- Supreme Court president Dorit
Beinisch said at a committee meeting, “We have a list of judges who we could
cause to retire if we could offer them their pensions. In the meantime, we have
an intermediate solution.”
Grunis said that the issue was a “ticking
bomb” and that the “public was paying a price for it.”
spokeswoman responded to the allegations, saying that the “issue of pension
rights of judges requires investigation. Changes in the system for pension
rights given to judges requires a decision of the Knesset Finance Committee and
is not in the hands of the judges.”
Eyal said that the Justice Ministry
should have published the protocols of the meetings of the Judicial Appointments
Committee, which dealt with the issue, on its own initiative, as directed by
Justice Elyakim Rubinstein around five years ago.
Eyal was referring to a
2008 High Court of Justice decision rejecting the Legal Forum’s petition to
compel full disclosure of all committee meeting protocols.
rejection, the forum said that Rubinstein insisted that the law must be
respected, and that it obligated the Judicial Appointments Committee to publish
any details possible from the committee’s discussions.
The forum said on
Tuesday that “from then until today the Legal Forum has demanded the publication
of the protocols, and after threatening to appeal to the Supreme Court, the
Legal Forum very recently received three protocols from the committee’s
deliberations,” which it has now published on its website and Facebook
The forum continued on saying that beyond increased transparency in
general, the disclosure had been targeted at stopping the alleged practice of a
“friend brings a friend” into the judicial system, in which allegedly judges
once appointed favor their friends for new appointments.
The forum also
said, “In a democracy, nothing should be hidden from the public, even in the
appointment of judges to the courts.”
In another protocol from February
12, 2012, the Judicial Appointments Committee decided to deny interest groups’
requests to appear directly before the committee and to limit such groups to
contacting the committee in writing In the same meeting, Beinisch and Justice
Minister Yaakov Neeman lavished praise on each other as Grunis was appointed to
be the Supreme Court’s new president and as Beinisch completed her last meeting
with the committee.