Likud member Osnat Mark, a former lawmaker soon to rejoin the Knesset and a candidate for a committee that appoints judges, said Thursday that she would screen judicial candidates based on whether their “viewpoint is appropriate for the Likud.”
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Mark will rejoin the Knesset after Likud ministers resign in accordance with a law passed this week. She made the comments in an interview with Kan Radio, in response to a question as to whether she would support naming Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit or former prosecutor Shai Nitzan to sit on the Supreme Court.
Mark, an attorney, said, “The Likud wants to realize the values for which it was elected, and there are more than a million and a half citizens who have voted for a certain party and a certain path, and we want to see that this is expressed.” (Likud actually won 1.352 million votes in the last election held in March.)
Mark said that there are people who represent the right wing as being “against the courts” and “seeking anarchy.” But she added, “We don’t want anarchy. I think there are many people in Israel, more than half the public, who are on the right, and believe in the justice system though they feel there are changes that need to be made.”
Likud initiated a system for enabling a veto of judges to prevent Nitzan from getting a seat on the bench.
“There are issues the courts cannot go into,” she said. But she made it clear that she believes that “the moment the court has issued a verdict, citizens must respect that decision,” Mark said.
She criticized the panel’s naming of judges during the last Knesset session. There were reports that the head of the Israel Bar Association, Effi Naveh, had sought to appoint judges who’d slept with him, and advanced the status of Judge Eitan Orenstein to the rank of district court president in Tel Aviv, allegedly in exchange for the judge’s providing assistance to Naveh.
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“I don’t want to see what we saw in the previous judicial appointments panel in which some judges were chosen for this reason or another,” Mark said. “There are all sorts of episodes involving the bar association.”
Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn heads the panel to choose judges and Transportation Minister Miri Regev is expected to become another government representative on that committee. In addition to Mark, the Knesset will be represented on the panel by MK Zvi Hauser of Derech Eretz. Three judges also sit on the panel as well as two representatives of the nation’s bar association.
In April Haaretz reported that Likud initiated a deal with Kahol Lavan to veto a choice of judges in order to prevent Nitzan being named to the Supreme Court.