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HaMoked in a letter of protest to the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General: the last-minute appointment of new judges to the Appeals Tribunal during election period is highly improper

On March 13, 2019, it was reported in the media that the Minister of Justice had appointed two lawyers – Chanania Guggenheim and Shlomo Wiesen – as judges in the Appeals Tribunal, which serves as the first judicial instance for matters relating to immigration and the granting of status in Israel for non-Jews.

That same day HaMoked sent a scathing letter of protest to the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General against these last-minute appointments. HaMoked criticized the timing of the appointments, stressing that according to the rulings of the High Court of Justice and the instructions of the Attorney General, in pre-election times, a provisional government and its ministers must “act with proper restraint worthy of the status of a retiring government”, among other things, in all matters relating to public office appointments. This is doubly true in the case of an appointment to the sensitive position of an Appeals Tribunal judge, who decides the fate of people, where and with whom they may live. However, HaMoked noted, according to the media it seems that the background and views of the judges formed at least part of the motive behind their hasty appointments before a new government is elected.

In addition, HaMoked demanded that judges who live in Israeli settlements in the West Bank – as reportedly one of the newly-appointed justices does – be required to sign an arrangement not to preside over cases of Palestinians from the oPt, to prevent any conflict of interest. HaMoked asserted that “it is improper – and even unreasonable – that a person who lives outside the sovereign territory of the State of Israel, in the occupied territories, would review the case of a person who applied to the state authorities in accordance with the law to have his status legalized inside its sovereign territory, and determine whether to allow that person to live within the State’s borders, which the judge himself lives outside of”. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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