beinisch - Tomer Appelbaum - September 19 2010
Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch Photo by Tomer Appelbaum
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Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch on Wednesday harshly criticized the state for its conduct in regards to the state prosecutors' strike that has lasted for more than a month.

"Why are you not conducting negotiations with the prosecutors?" Beinisch asked a representative of the Finance Ministry during a High Court hearing.

Beinisch wondered why the Finance Ministry had not agreed to conduct negotiations under the auspices of the Labor Court as it had during talks with other unions.

"You have no explanation for why you went down a crooked path and not the high path," Beinisch scolded. "Thus no progress has been made and the damage is terrible. The strike has cost us more than what you would have had to pay the prosecutors."

The state prosecutors strike began in mid-November and organizers say it will continue until their demands - higher pay and better work conditions, particularly for high-level prosecutors - are met.

The committee of organizers behind the strike has decided that prosecutors will appear only in cases involving the most serious allegations, including murder, attempted murder, arms production and trading, drug trafficking and sexual offenses.

Attorneys are not allowed to prosecute suspects in slightly less serious crimes, even in cases of aggravated assault, kidnapping, robbery, drug possession, weapons possession, arson or sex trafficking.

Several high-profile cases have been affected by the strike.