Official in Charge of Legalizing Israeli West Bank Outposts Named Judge

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The Judicial Appointments Committee meeting on Thursday, February 22.
The Judicial Appointments Committee meeting on Thursday, February 22.Credit: Emil salman

The Judicial Appointments Committee approved Israel’s first female ultra-Orthodox judge on Thursday. It also bestowed a judgeship on a more controversial candidate – the woman who heads the committee for legalizing unauthorized West Bank settlement outposts.

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The committee met on Thursday to make two new appointments to the Supreme Court as well as a number of lower court appointments.

The ultra-Orthodox woman, Eve Toker, is currently a lawyer in the Jerusalem district attorney’s office. She will serve on the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court.

President Reuven Rivlin welcomed Toker’s appointment. “I’m convinced she’ll bring to the bench both the skill and knowledge she acquired through much hard work and the values of Jewish law and Jewish tradition.”

The second woman, Haya Sandberg, will serve on the Jerusalem District Court. Before being appointed to head the settlement outpost legalization committee, Sandberg was a senior official in the State Prosecutor’s Office. She was considered one of the prosecution staffers closest to Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, who pushed for her appointment as a judge.

FILE PHOTO: Haya Sandberg named Jerusalem District Court judge after serving as head of the settlement outpost legalization committeeCredit: דוברות משרד המשפט

Last month, Shaked circulated draft legislation that would bar the High Court of Justice from directly hearing petitions by West Bank Palestinians and instead transfer this responsibility to the Jerusalem District Court – the same court to which she just appointed Sandberg.

Though the outpost legalization committee’s discussions are not made public, Haaretz has learned that in at least two cases Sandberg adopted a creative pro-settler legal position that contradicted the views of both the Justice Ministry and the Israel Defense Forces’ legal adviser in the West Bank.

Sandberg’s colleagues describe her as honest and professional, but said she saw her job in the prosecutor’s office as “serving her client.”

The committee also promoted judge Varda Wirth Livne, the deputy president of the National Labor Court today to be the new president of the court. Prosecutor Zohar Dolev was appointed as a magistrate’s court judge.

Judge Eilona Lindenstrauss Ariely, the daughter of former judge and State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss was promoted to the Nazareth District Court. Judge Amitsur Eitam, the son of former minister and general Effi Eitam, will serve on the Jerusalem Labor Court, after serving as a registrar for the same court for the past two years. 

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