Israeli Judge Agrees to Disclose Correspondence With Ex-bar Chief Who Allegedly Promoted Him

Josh Breiner
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Ex-bar chief Efraim Nave at the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court, January 2019.
Ex-bar chief Efraim Nave at the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court, January 2019. Credit: Reuven Castro
Josh Breiner

Following allegations that the president of the Israel Bar Association at the time, Efraim Nave, arranged a promotion for an unnamed judge in exchange for assistance with Nave’s own interests, the judge is not objecting to the release of the correspondence between them. Nave, however, has filed an objection to its disclosure.

The judge’s position is stated in a filing submitted this week with the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court by the Courts Administration in response to a petition by several media outlets, including the Globes business daily and Channel 13 News, seeking to have the correspondence disclosed.

Two weeks ago, Haaretz reported that the correspondence shows that Nave was requiring that the judge commit to further Nave’s own interests in exchange for a commitment on Nave’s part to support the judge’s candidacy for a promotion. The candidacy was being considered by an internal court administration committee.

Haaretz reported that information shows Nave appeared before the internal committee, consisting of senior judges, and expressed his support for promoting the judge in question over the other candidates. He also allegedly acted to block the candidacy of at least one other judge. The judge whom Nave recommended was ultimately appointed and currently holds the post.

A former judicial official said this appears to be an improper relationship that should be examined. Although the police and State Prosecutor’s Office have the information, they decided not to investigate the matter – apparently in part because of the way the evidence was obtained.

On Monday, the Courts Administration, in its filing in the case on its own behalf and on behalf of the judge, stated that he does not object to the disclosure of the correspondence and agrees that the gag order should be scaled back “in light of the harm to the unnamed judge’s reputation …”

The Courts Administration stated that the judge has “simple, lucid and clear explanations for the correspondence that dispel any claim” that he did anything improper in his contacts with Nave prior to his promotion.

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