Former A-G Mazuz on list of Supreme Court candidates

List includes women, Sephardi and Arab Christian candidates, including Katsav trial judge.

Menahem Mazuz (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Menahem Mazuz
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Judicial Selection Committee released for publication on Thursday the names of 15 new candidates for the Supreme Court judiciary, ahead of a meeting scheduled for January 6th. According to regulations, the list must be published at least 30 days before the meeting to  allow the public sufficient time to voice any reservations to the Courts Administration.
The decision to reopen the list of Supreme Court candidates came after the judicial selection committee failed to appoint any justices in its meeting last week. After that meeting, Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch said that circumstances did not permit new justices to be chosen, referring to a public row about the candidacy of Jerusalem District Court judge Noam Sohlberg. NGOs and politicians also criticized the fact that the list of candidates did not include any Sephardi judges.
Since Supreme Court Justice Edmund Levi's retirement in October, there have been no Sephardi justices on the court's bench, and there have been growing calls from both civil rights NGOs and politicians for the selection committee to include Sephardi candidates.
The new list includes a number of Sephardi candidates, as well as two women and an Arab Christian judge.
All but three of the 15 new candidates are district court judges. Most controversial among the three non-judges is attorney Menachem 'Meni' Mazuz, who served as attorney-general between 2004- 2010.
Last month, Mazuz came under fire from the Supreme Court during former president Moshe Katsav's appeal against his rape conviction and sentence. In response to accusations by Katsav's defense team that Mazuz contributed to a 'trial by media' by presenting his personal opinion about Katsav's guilt in interviews before the former president was formally arraigned, Justice Salim Joubran said Mazuz's behavior toward the press had been "distressing" and "inappropriate" and had "undoubtedly affected public opinion".
Another of the non-judges on the list is leading legal scholar Attorney Professor Boaz Sangero, head of the Criminal Law and Criminology Department at the Academic Center of Law and Business in Ramat Gan. Sangero, who received his doctorate from the Hebrew University, is considered a leading expert on criminal law. In 2004, prior to the disengagement from Gaza, Sangero publicly opposed a bill to impose harsh penalties on settlers who refused to leave their homes, saying that the punishments were disproportionate.
Prominent among the district court judges on the list is George Karra of the Tel Aviv District Court. Karra is best known for heading the panel of three district court judges who handed down a seven year prison sentence to former president Moshe Katsav after convicting him of rape and indecent assault. Karra's ruling was recently upheld in its entirety by the Supreme Court.
Karra, 59, is well-respected within the legal community, where he is considered intelligent, hard-working and patient. Born in Jaffa into a prominent Christian family, he studied law at Tel Aviv University and worked as a private attorney until his appointment as a judge in the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court in 1989. In 2000, Karra was appointed a Tel Aviv District Court judge and in April 2010 became a senior judge in that court.
Karra hit the headlines last year over his tough treatment of Katsav's defense attorneys, who complained to the court about the judge's heavy four-day-a-week schedule for the former president's rape trial.
Significantly, the new list includes several Sephardi candidates, including Mazuz, who was born in Tunisia. 
Among the new candidates is Morrocan-born Baruch Azulay, a senior judge in the Beersheba District Court. Azulay made aliya to Israel in 1956 and studied law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. After spending several years in the Southern District Attorney's office, Azulay studied for higher law degrees in Israel and Canada, before being appointed a regional Labor Court judge. In 1996, he was appointed a judge in the Beersheba District Court.
Another Sephardi candidate is Judge Uri Shoham of the Tel Aviv District Court. Shoham was born in Iraq and made aliya in 1951. He served in the IDF Military Advocate General (MAG Corps) for 35 years including as Deputy President of the Military Appeals Court and ended his service with the rank of Brigadier General.
The full list of new candidates is: Avraham Avraham (Deputy President of the Nazareth District Court), Baruch Azulay (senior judge, Beersheba District Court), Benjamin Arnon (judge, Central District Court), Yael Willner (judge, Haifa District Court), Yitzhak Cohen (judge, Nazareth District Court), Attorney Dr Boaz Sangero (law scholar, Academic Center of Law and Business), George Karra (judge, Tel Aviv District Court), Uri Shoham (judge, Tel Aviv District Court), Michal Agmon (Tel Aviv District Court), Yosef Elron (judge, Haifa District Court), Anat Baron (judge, Tel Aviv District Court), Revital Katz (Deputy President, Beersheba District Court), Attorney Menachem Mazuz (former attorney-general), Itzhak Inbar (judge, Tel Aviv District Court), Attorney Eyal Rozovsky (senior partner, Zellermayer, Pelossof, Rosovsky, Tsafrir, Toledano & Co).