Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Charedi World

22 Adar 5759 - March 10, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly







Israel Bar Chief Challenges Court

by Yated Ne'eman Staff

Dror Choter Yishai, the maverick chairman of the Israeli Bar Association chairman, is not afraid to fight for a better justice system in Israel, even if that means challenging the power of Israeli High Court Presdient Aharon Barak.

At a luncheon at Tel Aviv's Sheraton Hotel, Mr. Choter Yishai who was the guest of the Industry and Commerce Club, noted that Chief Justice Aharon Barak has been serving as a justice for 20 years, but has never heard testimony by a witness.

He said that after being appointed to the Supreme Court, Barak asked then Chief Justice Shamgar to enable to him to gain experience listening to witnesses, but Shamgar told Barak that his request could not be filled at that point.

According to Mr. Choter-Yishai, a judge who has never heard witnesse lacks the skill in reading protocols containing cynical nuances, which are not written in the formal court protocol in the tone they were made.

Mr. Choter-Yishai also said that the Supreme Court prefers to deal in issues which generate widespread media coverage. Appeals filed in the Supreme Court receive preference over other cases that the court should handle, he said.

Every year 1,700 appeals are filed with the Supreme Court. If one takes into account all of the vacations and holidays, this boils down to 200 appeals a month. Under such conditions, Mr. Choter-Yishai said, the court cannot dispense justice properly.

"Justice Barak thought that these remarks were contempt of court," Mr. Choter-Yishai said, "but I had to make them."

Mr. Choter-Yishai also criticized the fact that the professional suitability of judges, who are appointed until they retire, is not examined during any stage of their career.

His remarks were echoed during a recent seminar run by Tel Aviv University, entitled, "The Image of the Judge in Israeli Society," which included harsh criticism of judges and the entire legal system in Israel.

Atty. Avigdor Feldman chided the judicial system for being "simply unable to recognize its mistakes."

Professor Ze'ev Segal, of Tel Aviv University, concurred. "The judges do not like or accept criticism," he said. "Some of them have become dizzy with power, such as one judge who had a woman arrested because her cellular phone went off in the courtroom, and another judge who ordered the arrest of the man in charge of court stenographers because they didn't show up for work..."

Others criticized the High Court for intervening in the domain of the Knesset.

Even former Chief Justice of the Tel Aviv District Court Eliyahu Vinograd felt obligated to agree with some of the criticism, saying that some of the judges have "lost their proportions, and their position has made them dizzy. Some of them act without sensitivity towards private citizens who arrive at the court to have or to see justice done."

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