Head of Israel's Bar Association Resigns Over Sex for Judgeship Case

Effi Nave was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of promoting judges in exchange for sexual favors

Effi Nave at a Tel Aviv courthouse, January 16. 2019
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Israel Bar Association Chairman Effi Nave resigned on Thursday a day after he was arrested on suspicion of promoting judges in exchange for sexual favors.

According to the Israel Police, he appointed a female judge to a magistrate court, as well as another judge.

Nave has been a dominant and influential figure on Israel's legal scene since 2015, when he ousted the president of the Bar Association and took leadership of the professional organization that represents the country’s 59,000 attorneys.  

Effi Nave

In Israel, the Bar Association isn’t merely a professional club, but one whose leader wields substantial political power due to its permanent seat on the nine-member panel that appoints the country’s top legal officials.

During his four years at the helm of the Bar Association, Nave has been seen as a close political ally of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, and has been a key member of the panel whose support in committee votes has been crucial in helping the justice minister fulfill her goal of appointing a larger number of conservative and religious judges.

Shaked said on Thursday that female Knesset members on the left are exploiting the affair to mount a political campaign against her.

"In recent days there are a savage, false and inciting attack, false accusations and lies against me. But the most disappointing one is on the part of left wing female MKs, ones that I've worked with in the Knesset in an honest, decent way. They know me well. We have ideological differences, but I saw them work colleagues," she said.

"They're all women, and that's my disappointment. They're using the last affair for an ugly, personal political campaign," Shaked said. "The political attacks from the left won't deter me. I intend to serve as justice minister four more years until I complete the revolution I've begun."

Shaked spoke at a Jewish law seminar held at the Dan Hotel in Jerusalem in memory of lawyer Jacob Weinroth.

Meretz leader Tamar Zandberg said Thursday that "all the slime you've brought into the justice system is floating up and causing a stench."

She was joined by her party colleague Michal Rozin, who called on Shaked to resign and leave the Justice Ministry. Labor MKs Revital Swid and Shelly Yacimovich denounced Shaked following the affair.

"Shaked's attempts to disassociate herself from it won't work, because even when it was clear that Naveh cannot distinguish between good and evil at the most basic level, she continued to protect him with all her strength," Yacimovich said.