February 26, 2017: Selecting judges

With regard to “Right wins historic fight over judges for Supreme Court”...

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Selecting judges
With regard to “Right wins historic fight over judges for Supreme Court” (February 23), basically, this was a political tug of war between Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked and Supreme Court President Miriam Naor. More specifically, you note that Naor made a “deal” concerning veto power over judicial candidates for judges sitting on the selection committee.
Regrettably, what was not discussed was the archaic and ineffective judicial selection process as set forth in Basic Law-Judicature.
The law specifies that a small committee consisting of nine members – three from the court, two from the Bar Association, two from the legislature and two from the executive – will select justices. Five members of the committee thus have no relationship to representative government. The bizarre result is that the three members from the court can act – and have done so – as political agents, and attempt to clone a nominee in their own image.
Essentially, the judicial capability of a nominee is not considered. There is only raw, political, back-stage maneuvering that reflects just the personal and political whims of the committee members.
This system is justifiably questioned as lacking a process inherent in democratic societies. It has led to the legal and judicial mediocrity of the court, and to a lack of full disclosure, with nebulous mysteries as to the position of nominees.
In the final analysis, there is an urgent need to change the present judicial selection process in order to ensure the viability and vibrancy of the system within the mores of a democratic society. I recommend the American system, where there is full disclosure as to the legal positions and capabilities of the proposed nominees.
Braver with press
During his visit to Australia, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been highly praised (“Show of extraordinary friendship marks Netanyahu’s visit to Australia,” February 23).
Since US President Donald Trump began attacking the press, which automatically attacks him for everything he does, Bibi has begun to be a bit braver with the press. Maybe the world is headed in the right direction?
Look to Jordan
With regard to “The Sisi era” (Editorial, February 22), it is true that Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi’s leadership is important to achieve regional stability. Egypt is the most populous Arab country. It is the mother of the universe, as Egyptians crave to call it. It is vital in times of peace and war.
However, you omitted the pivotal role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in serving the cause of peace, combating terrorism and forging political solutions to regional conflicts ranging from the Arab-Israeli dispute to Syria, Libya, Iraq and Yemen.
Jordan is the major stakeholder in any ultimate solution between Israelis and Palestinians. It remains unflinchingly committed to safeguarding the historic and religious status quo of Jerusalem as an emblem of harmony for all adherents of the three Abrahamic religions, defending the city’s Arab character, finding an honorable solution to the ordeal of Palestinian refugees, and establishing a Palestinian state living side by side with a safe and secure Israel.
Jordan is hosting the Pan Arab summit in March, further proof of its regional clout and quintessential role in regional and international peace, security and stability.
Care and employment
I appreciate Judy Siegel’s reports on the sad state of care for senior citizens (“Litzman: I will ensure safety of the elderly,” February 20; “Finance Ministry to protect residents of old-age homes after report’s revelations,” February 21, co-reported with Udi Shaham), and reader Ellen B. Sucov’s excellent letter suggesting improvements (“Elder care,” February 22).
However, I haven’t seen any reference to an obvious source of help – unemployed Israelis.
Most suggestions focus on using volunteers who by nature are the giving type, or on supplying more rigorous supervision and punishment for unkind caregivers. But if money were to be spent on training unemployed Israelis, we would both upgrade their skills and reduce unemployment.
It is not enough to quote Torah. People have to be taught how to relate to the elderly and be given a living wage at the same time.
Back to Menendez
With regard to “Senator Menendez and the Pollard effect” (Our World, February 21), I am an Israeli citizen. I am also an American citizen.
I am not seeking office, but if I were and my senator, Robert Menendez of New Jersey (where I maintain a home and driver’s license), asked me the question that has Caroline B. Glick in a tither, I’d reply: “My first loyalties are to Israel.”
How would she reply? As a born-in-the-USA gal who was educated at Columbia, I’m guessing that she’s also a US citizen who regards her first loyalty as being to Israel. But unlike the easily roused Ms. Glick, I find legitimacy in the question. As a prospective employee of the United States government, ambassador-designate to Israel David Friedman needs to state where his loyalties lie.
Furthermore, as a Jew with two nationalities, I don’t want Friedman representing my America in my Israel. It’s clear he’s not the man for the job.
As to antisemitism in the United States, we can agree that since the arrival of President Donald Trump, there has been a pronounced and most unfortunate burgeoning of anti-Jewish acts. It is not enough, though, to stem the overwhelmingly high rate of intermarriage, which seems to imply that lots and lots of non-Jews in America – including a Trump – are only too willing to marry Jews. A paradox indeed.
Other fakery
The subject of “fake news” has featured prominently in your newspaper of late, and rightly so. As a scientist, this particularly bothers me, but no less so than does what I will call “fake opinion.”
Perhaps it is known that an opinion is a view or a judgment that is not necessarily based on knowledge or fact. And therein lies the problem, as it seems that many writers have forgotten that opinion should always be based on fact!
For instance, Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline B. Glick referred to “radical judges” when criticizing their ruling against the Trump executive order enacting an immigration ban. This clearly was an opinion that was not based on the records and political leanings of the judges.
Of course, there are opinions that are not based on fact, but on political expediencies (e.g., Post columnist Gershon Baskin, who has a political position and invents facts to support it). Even some news analyses have suffered from the political leanings of analysts who weigh some facts more than others and reach misleading conclusions (e.g., Post writer Yossi Melman).
In contrast, Ira Sharkansky writes a blog hosted by the Post’s website that is based on historical facts and draws conclusions (i.e., it forms opinions) from these facts. A reader who reads his blog will become more knowledgeable and gain insight about the subject under discussion.
In my opinion, nothing has contributed more to the dismal state in which the media is held than the substitution of opinion for fact.
The writer has a PhD in environmental and atmospheric science and holds a senior research position in the Earth Sciences Department at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.