Israeli Military Judge Attends Kahanist Party's Event, in Violation of Ethics Rules

Dov Gilboa called in an unusual minority opinion in 2018 to impose the death penalty on a Palestinian man. 'He was brave to say the terrorist needs to be put in the electric chair,' party leader Itamar Ben-Gvir said

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Ben-Gvir speaking at an Otzma Yehudit gathering on Sunday.
Ben-Gvir speaking at an Otzma Yehudit gathering on Sunday.Credit: Facebook screenshot

A military court judge who serves in Israel's army reserves apparently violated ethics rules when he participated in a conference of the far-right Otzma Yehudit party in Ashkelon this week.

Ethics rules for judges, which forbid taking part in any event held by a political party or other political organization, also apply to judges in both the regular army and the reserves.

The judge, Col. (res.) Dov Gilboa, wrote in an unusual minority opinion in 2018 to impose the death penalty on a Palestinian terrorist.

At the Sunday event, Knesset member Itamar Ben-Gvir (Religious Zionism) described Gilboa as “the first judge to impose a death sentence on a terrorist." He added, "He was brave to say the terrorist needs to be put in the electric chair.”

Ben-Gvir introducing the military judge at an Otzma Yehudit event this week.

The IDF Spokesman’s Office said it suspects Gilboa committed an ethics violation in this case.

In 2018, the Ofer military court sentenced Omar al-Abed to four life sentences for stabbing to death Yosef Salomon, his son Elad and his daughter, Chaya, and seriously injuring Yosef’s wife, Tova, in the West Bank settlement of Halamish in July 2017. Gilboa was in the minority, two judges against one, in supporting the death penalty for al-Abed.

Gilboa was recently promoted to the rank of full colonel. Gilboa told Haaretz he is neither a political activist nor a party member. He said he knows Ben-Gvir through the Israel Bar Association. Gilboa said he attends events to consider whether to invite speakers to the “Cathedra on Friday” program, which he heads at the Ashkelon Academic College.

Haaretz reported previously that Gilboa was convicted in 1990 of a crime when he was the head of a branch in the Ground Forces Command. He had been charged with ordering soldiers to type academic papers for him when he was studying at university – and ordered them to drive his family and himself to events, as well as to assemble sprinklers in his garden. After reaching a plea bargain in the case, resulting in his demotion to the rank of major, Gilboa retired from the army. His rank was restored in 1994, and he was appointed a military judge in 2003.

The IDF Spokesman’s Office commented: “The circumstances require studying the facts, in light of the suspicion of violating ethics rules that apply to reserve judges, too. The president of the Military Appeals Court for Judea and Samaria will conduct as soon as possible an inquiry regarding the judge.”

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