Panel Names New Judges, Some Controversial

Among new appointees: leading member of gay community, former state prosecutor

After his candidacy was rejected at an earlier session of the judicial appointments committee, attorney Guy Hyman - legal assistant of Supreme Court Judge Edmond Levy - managed to be selected as a Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court judge.

In addition to Hyman, 14 other judges were selected, including attorneys Dori Spivak, a leading activist in the gay community, and Tova Perry, who was the prosecutor who convicted Francois Abutbul for the murder of teenager Raanan Levy.

The choice of Hyman, with Judge Levy's encouragement, stirred some grumbling among a few members of the committee. It was argued that while Supreme Court judges on the panel could present candidates from among their associates, the other members - representatives of the Israel Bar Association, and politicians - are barred from doing the same. Approval of Hyman's candidacy was made possible now with the understanding that the committee will soon hold a discussion on the principle of this matter.

At the committee's last meeting, in November, attorney Pinhas Marinsky, representing the Bar Association, criticized Judge Levy's decision to propose Hyman as a candidate for judgeship, arguing that by doing so, Levy was involving himself in an unacceptable conflict of interests. A heated debate evolved between the two, during the course of which Levy referred to Marinsky's remarks as "nonsense," but then later apologized.

It should be noted that the Institute for Advanced Judicial Studies, which conducts suitability reviews for candidates, found that Hyman has still not reached the stage where he should assume a judicial post.

Attorney Spivak, who serves as deputy director of Tel Aviv University's legal clinics and is a leading activist in the gay community, was selected to serve as a judge on the Tel Aviv Regional Labor Court. A declared homosexual, he has served as chairman of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and as legal adviser to the association of homosexuals and lesbians. He is also a past recipient of the gay community's merit award.

Over the weekend, the legal adviser of the Association of Civil Rights in Israel, attorney Dan Yakir, welcomed the appointment of Spivak - a personal friend and fellow activist.

"This is a point of light at a time when the human rights organizations are under harsh attack because a leading activist in the human rights community, and in the homosexual and lesbian community - and a past chairman of ACRI - has been appointed a judge," said Yakir.

Attorney Tova Perry, who until last year served as a senior prosecutor in the Central District of the State Prosecutor's Office, and who helped convict Francois Abutbul for the murder of teenager Raanan Levy, was chosen to be a judge in the Youth Court. During the Abutbul trial, Perry was given a security detail because of threats against her.