December 10, 2023

The Judicial Selection Committee was scheduled to convene for the first time in the current government’s term on Thursday. Justice Minister Yariv Levin had been refusing to convene the committee until its make-up was reformed as part of the judicial reform, but he announced last week that he would convene it within two weeks. Due to Levin’s refusal to convene the committee, Israel will be at a deficiency of more than 50 judges by the end of next month, but the agenda released by Levin on Wednesday showed that he did not intend for the committee to select any judges on Thursday. According to his agenda, the justice minister intended for the committee to discuss sub-committees within it and determine rules for the committee’s procedure. The committee is made up of Levin, interim High Court of Justice chief justice Uzi Fogelman, Justices Yitzhak Amit and Daphna Barak-Erez, Israel Bar Association representatives Ilana Seker and Mohammed Na’amna, opposition MK Karin Elharrar, and coalition MK Yithak Kreuzer. National Missions Minister Orit Struk was voted as the second minister on Wednesday night in a phone survey of ministers. The five National Unity ministers who joined the government on an emergency basis did not support Struk’s appointment to the committee. Levin’s announcement last week that he would convene the committee led to the cancellation of a High Court hearing where the Movement for Quality of Government, Yesh Atid, and others petitioned the court to order the justice minister to convene the committee. As such, members of the opposition criticized Levin for not including judicial selection in the agenda. This comes after reports claimed that Levin said he would only agree to appoint Amit as chief justice if the committee agreed to his nominees, who were heavily involved in the judicial reform, to fill the two empty High Court spots.