'I Won't Appoint Leftists': Likud Lawmaker Opposed Promoting Two Judges She Perceived as Left-wing

Osnat Mark opposed promoting one judge based on his assistance to asylum seekers, and another for acquitting a Palestinian for a non-fatal shooting attack over a decade ago

Netael Bandel
Netael Bandel
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Likud MK Osnat Mark in the Knesset, September 2020.
Likud MK Osnat Mark in the Knesset, September 2020.Credit: Jonathan Samia/Knesset Spokesperson's Office
Netael Bandel
Netael Bandel

Likud MK and Judicial Appointments Committee member Osnat Mark attempted to block the promotion of two judges on the grounds that she perceived them to hold left-wing views.

The two judges are Ido Druyan-Gamliel, an acting judge on the Central District Court who volunteered in the past with the residents of south Tel Aviv; and Shai Shalhevet, an acting judge in military court, who acquitted a Palestinian charged with carrying out a shooting attack with no casualties. 

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A final decision has not yet been made concerning Druyan-Gamliel, while Shalhevet’s promotion has been suspended for two years.

Druyan-Gamliel is now serving in a temporary appointment in the Central District Court in Lod, and he has submitted an application for a permanent position on the same court. Sources on the Judicial Appointments Committee told Haaretz that Druyan-Gamliel noted on his application forms that he provided legal advice as a volunteer to what he called “disadvantaged populations in south Tel Aviv” when he was a lawyer working for the criminal division of the Tel Aviv district of the State Prosecutor’s Office.

When Mark examined his candidacy, she noticed his past work and asked her staff to clarify exactly who these deprived groups were. She concluded that Druyan-Gamliel had volunteered to provide legal aid to asylum seekers, said the sources.

Shalhevet has been volunteering as a military judge for 14 years, and is a candidate for a position in Traffic Court. On his application forms he noted a few rulings he made, including one in which he acquitted over a decade ago a Palestinian charged with a terrorist attack over a bus shooting. It was discovered during the trial that none of the people involved identified the defendant in a lineup. After the acquittal, the military prosecution accepted the decision and did not appeal it.

In an interview with Israel Hayom published on Friday, Mark said she would choose judicial candidates based on their political views – but she would make sure to hide this in her justifications. “I won’t appoint leftist judges, don’t worry. No way,” she said. When asked what she would do if she was accused of promoting only right-wing candidates, she said: “So I won’t say right-wing, I’ll say conservative. I’ll go with the euphemism.”

Mark, who rejoined the Knesset in July as a replacement for Gilad Erdan after he was appointed as the Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations, has previously said she would screen judicial candidates based on whether their “viewpoint is appropriate for the Likud.”

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