Israel Bar Association Head Says Tel Aviv District Court Judge Must Go

Accuses her of illegally changing transcripts of court proceedings.

The head of the Israel Bar Association called Sunday for the vice president of the Tel Aviv District Court to be dismissed, accusing her of illegally changing transcripts of court proceedings.

The bar association's president, Doron Barzilay, sent a letter to Supreme Court President Asher Grunis and Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman, asking them to end Judge Varda Alshech's career on the bench. Last week the ombudsman's for complaints against judges, Eliezer Goldberg, published a report in which he harshly criticized Alshech for illegally making both technical and substantial corrections to a transcript.

The accusations stem from a case that Alshech heard in September 2011, involving a man whose business had gone bankrupt. Attorney Refael Ergaz, who was married to a representative of one of the creditors, asked to be appointed special manager for the case; Alshech refused that request.

After Alshech ruled that the receivership arrangement could be canceled, Ergaz said the main creditor, Bank Hapoalim, had already agreed to discontinue the bankruptcy proceedings. When Alshech asked him why he did not inform her of this, he said she had not allowed him to be heard.

Alshech filed a complaint about Ergaz's behavior with the Tel Aviv Bar Association's ethics committee. When the committee investigated, it found that there were two versions of the court transcripts - one submitted by Ergaz and the other by Alshech, with 36 differences between them.

The ethics committee dropped the complaint and determined that Alshech had purposely and illegally changes the court transcript to make Ergaz's conduct appear inappropriate.

Alshech responded that one version was a draft that she mistakenly gave to the bar association, and the other was the "official" version.