Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Supreme Court President Justice Asher Grunis petitioned the ombudsman for judges Sunday, urging the official to look into the behavior of Justice Shlomo Ettinger Nachshon.
Ettinger, a judge at the Petah Tikva Traffic Court, is suspected of resorting to sexist language in the courtroom, insulting a female prosecutor and a number of female typists, as well as smoking in prohibited places and showing contempt to colleagues and litigants.
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The most high-profile offence attributed to the judge occurred in front of some 15 witnesses, as a female prosecutor was searching her desk for a file connected to a defendant whose name apparently begins with the Hebrew letter "Zayin," which is also a slang term for the male sexual organ.
"Look under 'Zayin,'" Ettinger instructed the prosecutor. When she found the document, he allegedly remarked "I see you're adept at quickly locating 'Zayin.'" The prosecutor left the courtroom in tears and was substituted by a colleague for the remainder of the case.
Ettinger claimed last week that in the incident involving the female prosecutor, he referred to the Hebrew letter alone, and that any sexual innuendo was unintentional. "If my remark was misunderstood, it is a regrettable matter," he added.
However, the incident does not represent the only complaint against the judge. Some five months ago, Yedioth Ahronoth's Tel Aviv newspaper reported instances of Ettinger's humiliating remarks directed at typists. He allegedly told one typist to "shut up," and instructed another not to talk to him, saying he "hates it" when women talk back.
In another reported instance he mocked a new immigrant's poor command of Hebrew.
Livni and Grunis asked retired Justice Eliezer Goldberg to look into the allegation against Ettinger. They asked Goldberg to be aware of the fact that there are other accounts of the incident involving the Hebrew letter "Zayin."
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