21 Israeli Judges Appointed Since 2015 Deemed Unqualified

Some of them were backed by the three Supreme Court justices on appointments committee

File photo: Efraim Nave with Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, November 2018.
Tomer Appelbaum

Twenty-one judges were appointed between 2015 and 2018 despite failing the exams administered by the Institute of Advanced Judicial Studies and being rated as unqualified by it.

Some of these appointments were backed by the three Supreme Court justices who serve on the Judicial Appointments Committee.

During this three-year period, the committee was chaired by then-Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked. The three justices were headed by then-Supreme Court President Miriam Naor. The two Israel Bar Association delegates on the committee were led by the bar’s then-chairman, Efraim Nave, who is facing criminal charges for successfully promoting a woman’s candidacy for a judgeship in exchange for alleged sexual favors. Politicians occupy the remaining three seats on the panel.

Naor, in a statement given to the police as part of their investigation of Nave, explained that “The judicial exams aren’t the only criterion of suitability.” Both she and Shaked told the police that even if someone fails the exam, there may be other valid justifications for the appointment.

When the investigators asked Naor and Shaked why the minutes of Judicial Appointments Committee meetings that are made public don’t detail the content of the discussions, but only the position to be filled and the person chosen to fill it, both explained that most appointments are settled in informal discussions among the Supreme Court president, the justice minister and the Israel Bar Association chairman prior to the meeting.

The Institute of Advanced Judicial Studies operates courses and assessment exams for new judicial candidates and judges who are seeking promotions within the system. It also conducts psychological evaluations and character assessments of the candidates, and compiles all of its findings to reach a score for each candidate.