Habayit Hayehudi leader Daniel Hershkowitz, L, and National Union leader Yaakov Katz, July 5, 2010
Habayit Hayehudi leader Daniel Hershkowitz, L, and National Union leader Yaakov Katz, July 5, 2010 Photo by Emil Salman
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The Knesset approved on Monday in second and third readings the so-called Grunis bill, which is expected to pave the way for Supreme Court Justice Asher Dan Grunis, a conservative judge popular with right-wing politicians, to be named the next court president.

The bill, initiated by MK Yaakov Katz (National Union), allows judges to assume the court presidency even if they have less than three years to serve before reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70. The current law restricts such judges from becoming chief justice.

Grunis is seen as a conservative judge who mostly refrains from intervening in decisions made by the executive and legislative branches, and is thus popular with right-wing politicians. But when Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch retires at the end of February 2012, Grunis will be five weeks short of three years from retirement.

Opposition MKs tried to filibuster the bill by conducting lengthy debates on the hundreds of objections filed against it, but the bill was approved after all.