Israeli-Arab Justice George Kara retires

Justice Kara's last act of his job was to overrule the lower district court which had extended a new potential entitlement to certain criminals.

 Supreme Court Chief of Justice Ester Hayut with Supreme Court judge George Karra and Supreme court justices at a ceremony held for outgoign Supreme Court judge George Karra, at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem on May 29, 2022. (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
Supreme Court Chief of Justice Ester Hayut with Supreme Court judge George Karra and Supreme court justices at a ceremony held for outgoign Supreme Court judge George Karra, at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem on May 29, 2022.
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Supreme Court Justice George Kara retired on Sunday issuing his final decision on a major issue in which the overlap between criminal and tax law has massive policy implications.

In his final decision, Kara overruled the lower district court that had extended a new potential entitlement to certain criminals.

According to the lower court, when the state seizes assets of criminals, those criminals could later use the assets seized to reduce their tax liability in civil cases.

Although this issue may sound technical to many, it could have a transformative impact on the conduct of criminals.

If criminals believe that when their assets are seized they can use this as a tactic to reduce their tax liability, or in other words make a profit elsewhere, the way that they view seizures of assets would be completely different.

 Supreme Court Chief of Justice Ester Hayut with Supreme Court judge George Karra and Supreme court justices at a ceremony held for outgoign Supreme Court judge George Karra, at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem on May 29, 2022. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) Supreme Court Chief of Justice Ester Hayut with Supreme Court judge George Karra and Supreme court justices at a ceremony held for outgoign Supreme Court judge George Karra, at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem on May 29, 2022. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Specifically, because of this, Kara said that it was important not to give criminals any benefit when their assets are seized as part of a criminal proceeding.

Instead, he said that the seizure of assets during a criminal proceeding was meant to have a deterrent impact on criminals from committing future crimes.

Besides the particular decision, Kara said that in terms of violent and divisive rhetoric, recent years have been very difficult for him as an Israeli-Arab justice of the Supreme Court.

Kara said that all sectors of Israeli society need to do better in advancing dialogue and coexistence.

In terms of escalated violence within the Israeli-Arab community, Kara said that in the short term, tougher law enforcement measures were needed, and in the long term, improved education.

Kara was appointed a magistrates court judge in 1989 and was promoted to become a Tel Aviv district court judge in 2000.

Next, he was appointed to the Supreme Court, filling the Israeli Arab-Justice reserved seat in 2017.

His replacement for the standard Israeli-Arab seat on the court is Khalid Kabuv.

While Kara was an Israeli-Arab Christian, Kabuv will be the first permanent Muslim Israeli-Arab justice.

Kara also said that he advocated the greater inclusion of principles of equality between sectors of Israel in the country’s basic laws.

Jerusalem district court leaves Sheikh Jarrah

Meanwhile, the court spokesperson's office also announced on Sunday that all Jerusalem courts, including the controversially located Jerusalem district court in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, would be moved to a new location in west Jerusalem in the government quarter.

The announcement of the decision on Jerusalem Day was considered equally controversial.