Politicians in Black Capes

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Israel's High Court, in session, May 3, 2020.

Anyone who knew who sat on the High Court of Justice panel hearing the appeal against the Arrangements Law on settlements could have called the results, with 100 percent accuracy. Eight justices fueled with political-ideological faith, leaning to the left to one degree or another, struck down the law this week. Only one, right-leaning justice (who is also a settler) objected to it.

One can assume, almost to the same degree of accuracy, what the proportion between the law’s opponents and supporters would have been, if instead of Menachem Mazuz, Anat Baron, Daphne Barak-Erez and Uzi Vogelman (pronounced left-wing people), the panel had consisted of Yosef Elron, Yael Willner, David Mintz and Alex Stein. And if, in addition, Noam Sohlberg had been on the panel as well, the ruling would most probably have been the opposite.

Whoever determined the panel, determined the result. For some reason, whenever the ruling is on political or sensitive religious issues, the side opposed to President Esther Hayut (it was the same before her) is left out of the panel, Cynically, only one whose worldview is different was added to the panel.

Left-leaning panels are also appointed to hear appeals against the Bedouin’s illegal construction on private Jewish-owned land in the Negev. There, obviously, the ruling is always in the squatters’ favor. Nobody – not even the Bedouin’s lawyers – denies that the land is privately owned. The examples I mentioned here in the past are countless.

Just as leftists will always mention next to Sohlberg’s name that he’s a settler, other journalists checked the habitat and political affiliation of the Supreme Court justices before they were appointed to this (formerly) respectable body. We know who was in Bnei Akiva, who in Peace Now and who continues to rule, even after donning a cape, according to this affiliation.

The typology is unmistakable – this has also been proved in the most detailed academic studies. A person is, as the saying goes, a template of his homeland’s scenery and in this case, the scenery of his social, religious and family affiliation.

In simple ethical matters, not only in controversial political affairs, some Supreme Court justices, especially the president, Esther Hayut, have lost control – or shame, if you will – and subsequently the public’s faith. The fighting media, like Haaretz, follow every bit of conflict of interests in politics and economics, with a justified sense of mission. However, it falls silent when Maariv’s Kalman Liebskind warns, almost every week, that Hayut sat on panels that heard matters pertaining to companies represented by lawyers from the firm in which her husband, David Hayut, is a senior partner. He also reports other problematic acts regarding her friend, Justice Anat Baron.

Nor are any of the guardians of morality fazed in view of the reports of the nepotism in the court – not even that a justice lies brazenly to the public, as we witnessed last week. As long as he, the president and their colleagues issue the “correct” verdicts in political-ideological appeals (and they always do), they are protected.

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