Arab judge appointed to J'lem District Court despite Likud's objection

The Judicial Selection Committee, headed by Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn, announced the appointments of 61 new judges.

District Court of Jerusalem, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's trial will take place (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
District Court of Jerusalem, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's trial will take place
The Judicial Selection Committee headed by Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn announced on Sunday evening the appointments of 61 new judges to Israel's judicial system, Israeli media reported. 
Among the newly appointed judges is Judge Abbas Assi, whose appointment was almost prevented by Likud Transportation Minister Miri Regev and MK Osnat Mark. Assi will become a Jerusalem District Court judge, together with Judges Tamar Bar-Asher and Mordechai Kaduri.  
Earlier on Sunday, Regev was told by Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit that she would not be allowed to attend the committee's discussion surrounding Assi due to a conflict of interest of hers, involving an old case in which the new judge ruled against her, Israel Hayom reported.   
According to the newspaper, there are a number of controversial rulings made by Assi in the past that caused some objection surrounding his appointment. One of them included a lawsuit filed by a settler in 2013, who sued the police for arresting those involved on a Saturday. Assi rejected the complainant's claim and demanded they pay the trial's legal fees. 
Nissenkorn, who supported Assi's appointment as district court judge, dismissed the objections, and hinted at a political agenda hiding under their surface.  
"Background noises and attempts to jeopardize the committee's work for political gains didn't and will not succeed," Nissenkorn wrote on Twitter. "We will continue to operate impartially in appointing new judges, and will do so according to professional criteria," he added. 
In light of the political tension between the Likud and Blue and White and the looming elections, right-wing representatives in the committee boycotted Sunday's meeting that included the new appointments, according to N12. Coalition chairman Miki Zohar criticized Nissenkorn and the Blue and White Party for carrying out a "one-sided" selection process, as he called it. 
"This is not how a unity government operates," Zohar wrote. "Blue and White is pushing for elections. The appointments of judges that took place today in a one-sided manner are yet another sad chapter in the defiant and disrespectful approach of the Blue and White Party," he said.
"Instead of bridging the gaps and trying to prevent the elections, they're doing the exact opposite," Zohar concluded.   
Joint Arab List MK Aida Touma-Suleiman congratulated Assi, noting that his appointment as a district court judge was previously blocked by former justice minister Ayelet Shaked.
"And now Mark and Regev tried to prevent his appointment. They both don't want Arabs in the judicial system," Touma-Sliman wrote on Twitter. "They want Zionist and obedient judges to act as an extended arm for Netanyahu's government. But they failed," she added. "Mabruk [congratulations] to the honorable Judge Assi, who will represent the voice of the weakened, whomever they may be."