Two highly experienced military judges who had been promoted to higher ranks were sworn in on Sunday at the President’s Residence.
This was the third time their swearing-in ceremony had been scheduled. On the previous two occasions, it was postponed due to one of the participants in the ceremony being infected with COVID-19. On this occasion, outgoing IDF Military Court of Appeals President Maj.-Gen. Doron Piles could not attend because he is ill with coronavirus.
President Isaac Herzog, speaking before Brig.-Gen. Orli Markman was officially appointed president of the Military Court of Appeals and promoted to major-general by Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi, and Col. Maya Goldschmidt was appointed a judge at the Military Court of Appeals, could not help but exclaim, “At long last.”
Markman is the first woman to be appointed to her position, and she has broken through the last crack in the glass ceiling as far as women in the legal profession are concerned. The president of the Supreme Court, the president of the National Labor Court, Markman in the IDF and the newly appointed attorney-general are all women.
Markman, who is the granddaughter of Auschwitz survivors, said when her grandparents were in the death camp, they could not have imagined a democratic State of Israel in which a member of their family would be participating in a ceremony of this kind.
The role of a judge is to defend the most vulnerable elements of society, she said. Markman recalled that when Dalia Dorner was the first woman to serve in the Military Court, she ruled that all children, no matter what their social status, were entitled to an education.
Herzog said all of Israel’s military judges have been outstanding and have dealt with the most complex and sensitive issues.
The fulfillment of military duties does not permit a departure from humane values, and judges are often called to rule on matters in which there has been conflict between military duty and those values, he said.
Alluding to the recent Pegasus case of alleged misuse of spyware, Hertzog said, “Use of technology, yes; invasion of privacy, no.”
Herzog, Gantz and Kohavi were effusive in their praise of Piles, who is moving into a new realm after five years as president of the Military Court of Appeals and 30 years in the army.
They all said Markman and Goldschmidt were chosen because of their outstanding records and not because they are women, though their achievements will serve to inspire and encourage other women soldiers and women in general.
Gantz alluded to the case of the 80-year-old deceased Palestinian-American who was mistreated by a group of soldiers. He said no one, whether 80 or 18, should be left lying alone in the cold. This and other incidents have forced the IDF into in-depth introspection, he said.
Citing late Supreme Court president Meir Shamgar, Gantz said the rule of law was not a matter of a personal decision but of basic human norms that apply to everyone.
“Whenever we find exceptions, we have to ensure that they will not be repeated in the future,” he said.
Referring to the role of judges, Kohavi said justice was very important, but even more important is the ability to give people a second chance to improve their lives.