Judicial Committee Starts Work on New Guidelines Against Conflict of Interests

Judicial Appointments Committee sets up subcommittee on preventing conflicts of interest in response to recent accusations of cronyism; Accusations follow recent appointment of judge claimed not to be ready for the post.

The Judicial Appointments Committee responded Friday to recent accusations of cronyism by appointing a subcommittee to present guidelines to prevent conflicts of interest. The committee also appointed 22 new judges to Magistrate's, District and Labor Courts.

The demand for clear conflict of interest guidelines was raised again recently following the appointment of Guy Heiman, a legal aide to Justice Edmond Levy, to the status of magistrate judge, despite the judges' training center reporting that he was not yet ready for the post.

Earlier, the committee appointed Dana Cohen-Lekah, legal aide to Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch, as the Supreme Court Registrar. The two appointments garnered protests from committee members, who claimed the Supreme Court justices were "fixing jobs" for their aides and taking a direct part in their selection. The new subcommittee will include Justice Asher Dan Grunis, Pinhas Marinsky of the Israeli Bar, and MK David Rotem (Yisrael Beiteinu ).

Two potential appointments, Judge Dana Marshak Marom and Rivka Glatt, drew protests from right wing activists and were eventually not selected. Marshak Marom, a youth court judge who was slated for promotion to a district court, came under fire from right wing group The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel. The group complained that Marshak Marom made "sweeping verdicts" in the cases of teenagers arrested during the anti-disengagement protests in 2005 without offering each of them their individual day in court. The forum also said that Marshak Marom's past as an alumnus of the New Israel Foundation's law program was another reason she shouldn't be appointed.

It was alleged that Glatt, former head of the prosecution department at the Judea and Samaria police district, practiced a particularly strict approach toward settlers.

Some of the protests came through the webpage of committee member MK Uri Ariel (National Union ), who published a list of all the candidates and invited the public to voice its reservations.

Other new appointments include Judge Lea Glicksman-Kocavi, elected to the national labor court; Attif Ailabouni, promoted from registrar to judge at the Nazareth District Court; Rivka Fuchs, promoted from registrar to judge at the Haifa District Court; Eliyahu Bachar, promoted from registrar to judge at the Tel Aviv District Court; and Aylon Infeld, promoted from magistrate judge in Kiryat Gat to district judge in Be'er Sheva.