Peres urges unity in fight against violence

At swearing in ceremony for 18 new judges, president expresses shock, revulsion at firebombing of Palestinian taxi.

Peres head 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Peres head 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
President Shimon Peres has issued a call to the nation to unite in an effort to reduce violence at all levels of society.
Speaking at his official residence at a swearing-in ceremony for 18 new judges and court registrars, Peres expressed the shock and revulsion that he felt at the death of three women who were killed over the weekend by a hit and run driver in Netanya; as well as the senseless car bombing of a Palestinian taxi in which several members of a family including children were wounded near Bat Ayin.
He told the crowd assembled in the reception hall of his residence that last week, when he hosted an iftar dinner for the leadership of the Muslim community, Abd El Hakim Samara, the head of the Shari’a Court of Appeals and director of the Shari’a Courts, had beseeched him to stop of the violence that was pervading the country.
Putting an end to violence was a common cause on which there would be consensus among different streams and sectors of society, Peres said. He urged judges to lead the campaign to stop carnage on the roads and killings through the wild and reckless use of guns and knives.
Peres noted that this particular group of judges had set a precedent, in that for the first time the overwhelmingly majority were women. Of the 18 new judge, 11 are women.
Peres, Supreme Court President Asher D. Grunis, Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman and National Labor Court President Nili Arad all stressed the importance of justice and human dignity and spoke to the new judges of the heavy responsibility that they carried. Arad, discussing the Labor Court, said most people came to court feeling that they were the victims of injustice. It was the obligation of the judge to deal with them in a fair and just manner while simultaneously maintaining peace and order, she said.
Grunis said that the appointment of 15 judges and three senior court registrars, some of whom had been promoted, and some of whom were entering the judicial community for the first time, was a day of celebration for the judicial network, because it symbolized renewal.
He warned the appointees of the complex issues with which they would be confronted and to remember that the decisions that they made affected people’s lives.
“Remember to always make your decisions in accordance with the law and the dictates of your conscience,” he said.
Five of the new judges will serve in district courts in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Beersheba and the Central District.
Three will serve in district labor courts; four will serve in magistrate’s courts; two will serve in family courts and one in traffic court.
“You are joining one of the most overburdened of judicial systems,” Grunis told the new appointees, and noted the enormous gap between the backlog of cases and the number of judges, even though new judges are being appointed with relative frequency with the aim of increasing efficiency without harming the quality of service rendered by the courts.
Grunis also noted the construction of new court houses and mentioned that that the new Central District Court is due to open soon in Lod and that the magistrate’s courts in Ashkelon and Kiryat Shmona are moving into new buildings.
Neeman noted that the ceremony was taking place on the second day of the new month of Elul, which was a time for penitential prayers and introspection ahead the day of judgment by the Supreme Judge on Yom Kippur. He also pointed out that the weekly Torah reading this coming Shabbat is Shoftim (Judges), which he said is the basis and the legacy for Israeli law. Among the verses in the portion are: “You shall set up judges and law enforcement officials for yourself in all your cities that the Lord your God is giving you for your tribes, and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment; “You shall not pervert justice; you shall not show favoritism and you shall not take a bribe, for bribery blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts just words; and “Justice, justice shall you pursue that you live and possess the land the Lord your God is giving you...”
The oath taken by each new judge is based on the verse about not perverting justice or showing favoritism.