Dorit Beinisch and Yaakov Neeman - Olivier Fitoussi - 07112011
Dorit Beinisch and Yaakov Neeman last year. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi
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Since the start of his term in office, Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman has attempted to camouflage his methodical efforts to undermine the justice system and its independence. But in the last session of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, he had no choice but to show his real face.

By a majority of nine to eight - Neeman was the tiebreaker - the committee decided that the coalition will support a proposal by Yisrael Beiteinu to change the composition of the Judicial Appointments Committee by making the chairman of the Israel Bar Association one of two bar association representatives on the committee.

The decision came despite the fact that the Basic Law on the Judiciary states explicitly that the bar association's National Council chooses the IBA's representatives to the committee, and despite the position of the Justice Ministry and the legal adviser to the Knesset, based on the Basic Law, that the draft law is unconstitutional.

The IBA's current chairman, Doron Barzilay, is associated with Neeman, while the organization's National Council is controlled by the faction of Barzilay's predecessor, Yuri Guy-Ron, who is associated with Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch. By supporting the resolution, Neeman also violated the trust of Israel's lawyers, who only a few months ago granted control of the council to Guy-Ron's faction in the knowledge that the council is responsible for appointing the bar association's representatives to the Judicial Appointments Committee.

The current composition of the committee reflects the antidemocratic aspirations of Yisrael Beiteinu and its partners in the Likud, with the prime minister's backing - the politicization of the judicial system.

In all previous governments, the accepted practice was for one of the Knesset members on the committee to be from the largest opposition party, in order to maintain a range of opinions while still preserving the coalition's numerical superiority among the committee's political members. In a cynical move, the Netanyahu government decided to name MK Uri Uriel of the National Union, who shares the positions of the coalition, as the opposition's representative on the committee. In such a light, it is obvious that the aim of the bill is to affect a political takeover of the Judicial Appointments Committee.

The dissenting ministers must demand that the draft law be raised for discussion before the entire cabinet, so as to block the hijack of the judiciary planned by Neeman and Yisrael Beiteinu; and Netanyahu's vote must be a matter of public record.

קראו כתבה זו בעברית: נאמן מנסה לפגוע במערכת המשפט