Israeli Minister Touts Judge’s Appointment Perceived as Tough on Bedouin

Transportation Minister Miri Regev supports Judge Ron Sulkin as his candidacy for Be’er Sheva District Court divides Judicial Appointments Committee

Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson
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Transportation Minister Miri Regev, June 2020.
Transportation Minister Miri Regev, June 2020. Credit: Ofer Vaknin
Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson

Transportation Minister Miri Regev of Likud is urging that Magistrate’s Court Judge Ron Sulkin be promoted to the district court, saying he is a conservative judge who takes a hard line on enforcement of the law in the country’s Bedouin community.

The Supreme Court justices on the Judicial Appointments Committee, as well as Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn, who chairs the committee, oppose Sulkin’s appointment to the district court. The committee is due to meet on Sunday. 

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The promotion to the district court of Sulkin, who has been a Magistrate’s Court judge in Be’er Sheva since 2011, is also supported by the two members of the appointments committee drawn from the ranks of Knesset members, Osnat Mark (Likud) and Zvi Hauser (Derech Eretz). Ilana Seker, who represents the Israel Bar Association on the panel, is considering supporting Sulkin’s district court candidacy as well. Sulkin’s appointment would require a majority vote in his favor.

A committee source said that in preliminary discussions about the appointment, Regev, a member of the appointments committee, portrayed Sulkin as a conservative of the U.S. Republican type and a representative of the Israeli geographic periphery.

Be’er Sheva Magistrate’s Court Judge Ron Sulkin.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

Regev has alleged that Sulkin’s candidacy is being opposed by the Supreme Court justices on the committee due to the possibility he might later be appointed to the Supreme Court.

Sulkin, 47, worked in the military advocate general’s office as well as in private practice before his appointment to the bench. Regev said she supported the appointment of lawyers in private practice as judges because they have a “service-oriented approach."

Sunday’s meeting of the committee will be its first since the Knesset was dissolved in December 2018, which was followed by three elections. With the prospect of another possible Knesset election, it will not consider appointments to the Supreme Court and focus mainly on district court candidates. Regev has also raised the possible district court appointment of Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court Judge Nava Braverman, who had been considered for a promotion in the past. She is the wife of cabinet secretary Tzahi Braverman.

According to a Haaretz source, in conversations this week with Supreme Court President Esther Hayut, Regev said, “How is it that you always think the judges we propose aren’t as good, and that the judges you suggest are all wonderful? What do the conservative judges we propose eat that makes them not as good?”

Hayut is said to have rejected the allegations, saying that the candidates are being considered on their merits and will be discussed in greater detail at the committee’s meeting.

Regev declined to comment on this article, saying, “I don’t comment on internal conversations and discussions.”

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