The judge who is suspected of giving sexual favors to the former head of the Israel Bar Association to get herself promoted to her post is Eti Craif, a Netanya Magistrate’s Court judge. Craif’s name was released on Wednesday after The High Court of Justice accepted an appeal by Haaretz to lift a gag order withholding the judge’s name.
In January, Israel Bar Association Chairman Effi Nave was forced to resign after being arrested on suspicion of promoting one judge, Craif, and trying to get a second one appointed, in return for sexual favors.
Craif, a former police prosecutor, was appointed a judge on the Netanya court in July, 2016 – a few months after her name was first proposed to the panel that selects judges. Nave admitted to police that he was having an intimate relationship with Craif at the time, but denies that he used his influence to get her promoted.
Nave’s arrest in January sent shock waves through legal and political circles. He had been a dominant and influential figure on Israel’s legal scene since 2015 when he became president of the bar association. He is seen as a close political ally of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, and was a key member of the panel whose support in committee votes has been crucial in helping Shaked appoint a larger number of conservative and religious judges.
In his investigation, Nave did not deny having an affair with Craif, 45, but argued that at that time he was no longer on the nine-member panel that appoints judges. Police suspect that he instructed two members of the panel to make sure that Craif’s name would be on the list of candidates and that they would push for her appointment. A police representative said in court that “Nave’s spirit was very dominant in the panel.”
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Nave is suspected of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.
The nine-member Judicial Appointments Committee is headed by the justice minister and includes, in addition to her, one other minister, two members of Knesset, three Supreme Court justices – including its president – and two representatives of the Israel Bar Association. Eight out of nine members of the committee supported Craif’s appointment, with only former Supreme Court Judge Elyakim Rubinstein objecting.
The police also suspect that Nave attempted, unsuccessfully, to have the husband of a lawyer with whom he was sexually involved promoted from magistrate’s to district court.