Will Israel Bar Association president allegations end Shaked’s revolution?

Even if Shaked gets her justice minister job back, without Naveh as an ally, her judicial revolution may be stalled from here on in.

Ayelet Shaked  (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Ayelet Shaked
At first glance, the filing of an indictment by the State Prosecution against Israel Bar Association president Efi Nave on Tuesday is a big story for lawyers, but is limited to that arena.
That is only for those who do not realize that Nave, more than any other individual in the country, is responsible for the success of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked’s judicial revolution.
Shaked and the Right view this revolution as decisive in how the Supreme Court will rule on fateful issues that come before it, from settlements to African migrants to balancing Judaism and democracy issues.
This is a revolution that could be in jeopardy with Nave’s forced resignation from the powerful judicial selection committee, and possibly his being forced out eventually as president of the Bar.
Granted that Shaked is the initiator of the revolution idea. But without Nave’s help, she likely would have been as stuck as Daniel Friedmann and other justice ministers before her who tried to revolutionize and failed.
Nave is key because as president of the Bar, he was able to tilt the balance of the nine-member judicial selection committee toward Shaked in exchange for her support on a variety of issues.
Until Nave took power, the Bar’s two members on the committee usually voted with the three Supreme Court justices on the committee, adding up to a decisive five-member majority bloc.
The remaining members of the committee are the justice minister, another government minister, a government non-minister MK and one MK from the opposition.
Once Nave cut his deal with Shaked, she gained a five-member majority bloc, since the two other government members mostly vote with the justice minister.
Due to an odd series of circumstances, Shaked even had the opposition MK slot voting with her, but the key was the Bar’s two members.
With that majority, Shaked over the past four years has appointed around 40% of the Supreme Court’s current justices, and a slight majority of newly appointed justices were conservative for the first time in decades.
All that could be endangered as Nave is replaced on the committee and especially if a new Bar Association president takes power and swings back toward an alliance with the three Supreme Court judges on the committee.
Nave has been accused of trying to defraud customs by sneaking a female partner through an Israeli airport customs area without creating a record that she had been with him.
His alleged sneaking attempts relate to concerns he had about how the issue might impact various family law disputes he is engaged in.
Regarding new appointments, it is true that there are no immediate new appointments on the horizon. But if the next government serves a full term, the judicial selection committee could appoint as many as five new justices.
The list of justices’ retirements runs as follows: Hanan Melcer in 2021, Neal Hendel and George Kara in 2022 and Esther Hayut and Anat Baron in October of 2023.
With Hayut, the chief justice, stepping down, the next committee may also appoint the next chief justice.
In addition, though less on the front pages, Shaked has appointed hundreds of judges at the lower levels who, over time, become the top candidates for the Supreme Court.
With Nave off the committee and possibly being forced out as Bar Association president, the Shaked voting bloc on these judicial appointments might also be reversed.
In short, even if Shaked gets her justice minister job back, without Nave as an ally, her judicial revolution may be stalled from here on in.