The Israel Bar Association's national council elected its two delegates to the Judicial Appointments Committee yesterday - both are seen as allies of Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch.

The two delegates are Rachel Ben Ari, who has been serving on the committee, and Khaled Husseini Zuabi. Both are identified with former bar association head Yori Geiron's faction in the organization. Geiron is viewed as a Beinisch ally.

Zuabi, the head of the bar association's northern district, will be the first Arab on the Judicial Appointments Committee.

For Beinisch, the election is a significant achievement. The two new committee members are expected to help form a five-member bloc that will oppose the four politicians, two ministers and two MKs on the committee.

Pending before the Knesset is the so-called Sohlberg law. This bill initially required that one of the bar association's delegates on the appointments committee be the governing coalition's representative on the bar association's national council. The other representative would come from the bar association's opposition faction, though some legal experts say this would violate the Basic Law on the Judiciary.

The initial bill was thought to improve District Court Judge Noam Sohlberg's chances to be selected by the Judicial Appointments Committee, but the bill has been modified and has not yet been passed into law. It therefore did not apply to yesterday's selection of bar delegates.

Backed by Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman, who heads the Judicial Appointments Committee, the bill's sponsors are expected to try to force the bar association to stage new elections if and when the bill becomes law.

The bill passed the first of three readings in the Knesset on Monday. Before the bar association vote yesterday, association head Doron Barzilay and the chairman of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, MK David Rotem (Yisrael Beiteinu ), requested that the bar vote be deferred until legislation of the Sohlberg law is completed. The association's opposition, headed by Geiron, rejected this request.

"It's regrettable that some members of the [bar] council carried out this [vote] at a time when the Knesset is at an advanced legislative stage and has asked the association to wait," Barzilay said.