Judge Hanan Meltzer
Judge Hanan Meltzer Photo by Tess Scheflan
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A leading Supreme Court justice lodged a complaint on Sunday after finding a noose hanging outside of his Tel Aviv-area home.

Judge Hanan Meltzer initially reported the incident to a Supreme Court guard, who turned the matter over to the district police for investigation.

Judge Meltzer was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2007 after running his own private law firm for 30 years.

Nearly a dozen Israeli judges have been given police protection in recent years due to threats on their lives by criminal elements. Given the range of cases covered in the Supreme Court, it is not yet clear who could be behind the noose incident.

The protection given to the judges in question, by both the police and the unit that provides security to the courts, varies depending on the threat level.

In some cases, the decision to provide security to a judge derives not from a specific threat, but from the assessment that criminal defendants whose cases are pending before a given judge might attempt to influence the outcome by threatening the judge.

Three judges have received the maximum level of protection over the past few years, due to specific threats on their lives by crime organizations: Tel Aviv District Court Judge George Karra, who convicted the top members of the Hariri crime organization; Jerusalem District Court Judge Hana Ben-Ami, who convicted senior figures in the Abutbul crime family; and Haifa District Court Judge Kamal Saab, who was threatened by a major local crime organization.

Once, Israeli crime organizations viewed attacks on law enforcement officials as a red line that should not be crossed. However, the July 2004 murder of Tel Aviv District Court Judge Adi Azar was allegedly carried out by a prisoner on furlough from his life sentences.