Former Israeli Bar Association head Efi Naveh and other candidates had their signatures of support disqualified from the Bar presidency elections over a technicality, according to a Bar election committee discussion held Wednesday night.
A Bar election committee hearing was held at the request of former bar head Doron Barzilai, who claimed that support for Naveh's candidacy was submitted illegally.
According to the Bar's rules, a candidate for the presidency must submit at least 550 handwritten signatures on paper with a pen. Maariv had reported on April 19 that Naveh had gained enough signatures to seek reelection.
Barzilai allegedly presented evidence on Wednesday that Naveh and other candidates submitted digital signatures, collected by sending links to Bar member's phones. Barzilai's camp called to disqualify all candidates who submitted digital signatures because they violated the election bylaws.
Naveh himself was not specifically disqualified, with a split committee tie vote decided by the panel’s chairman against digital signatures. Naveh showed no sign of relenting in his quest for reelection, updating his Facebook profile on Thursday with campaign slogans.
"Efi Naveh proves once again that, despite being a lawyer, the provisions of the law are for him only a recommendation," said Barzilai. "A person running for such a high position in the judiciary must not be caught, time after time, breaking the law."
The Movement for Quality Government (MQG) said that Naveh’s disqualification shouldn't be done for procedural reasons, but for "being a criminal."
MQG had submitted a letter to the State Attorney's Office last Thursday calling on them to submit a complaint about Naveh to the Bar's ethics committee.
The disciplinary panel had previously declined to review Naveh over concerns of conflict of interest. Some of the members of the panel had been appointed by Naveh.
Movement for Quality of Government moves against Naveh's re-election
MQG asserted that Naveh shouldn't be able to be reelected as Bar president over his conviction for border fraud and his sex scandal.
Naveh was convicted and sentenced to a two-month suspended sentence in November for sneaking his partner past customs agents at Ben-Gurion airport in 2018. He had engaged in the subterfuge because he was in the midst of divorce proceedings at the time.
The former Bar president was also accused of promoting judicial candidates in exchange for sexual favors, and resigned over the scandal in 2019. The case was dropped in 2021, as the deputy state attorney believed the case would lose in court.
Naveh’s successor, Avi Himi, resigned in January following his own sex-for-judgeship scandal. An attorney accused Himi of masturbating during a video call when she sought his recommendation for a judgeship.