Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut has included an Arab on a list of candidates to fill two vacancies on Israel's top judiciary—a suggestion that is expected to be struck down by right-wing politicians.
The draft list, which was sent to Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and obtained by Ynet’s sister print publication Yedioth Ahronoth at the beginning of the week, features the Jaffa-born Muslim, Khaled Kabub.
Also appearing on the list are Ofer Grosskopf, Yigal Mersel, Moshe Sobel, Ron Sokol, Ruth Ronen and Shaul Shohat.
Hayut, 64, who was sworn in as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in October, replacing Miriam Naor, rushed to mollify bitter disappointment expressed by a number of judges who say they feel sidelined for not appearing on the list of candidates to fill the two empty seats.
Attempting to nip the impending storm in the bud, Hayut assured the embittered judges that “the list of candidates is currently in the process of being finalized. It has not yet been completed.”
The judges insist that they should have been included on the list, adding that those that do currently feature on it do not reflect the judicial system and noting that they are among Hayut’s close associates.
Meanwhile, the Israel Bar Association (IBA), led by Efi Nave, and Ayelet Shaked’s ministry are compiling a list of their own for potential candidates.
In the past, the IBA served as a rubber stamp for the Supreme Court, but over time has taken on a more independent and domineering role in the decision-making process.
The IBA announced in the past that it would seek to promote the candidacy of a personal attorney to the Supreme Court instead of Yoram Danziger, and it even published the names of the selected candidates, which included Meir Mizrahi, Barak Tal, Zion Amir, Nati Simchoni and Boaz Ben Zur.
The candidate, who was supposed to be the “ace"and whose name was published by the IBA a few days ago, is Tel Aviv’s Financial Court judge Khaled Kabub, behind whom Hayut has thrown her support.
Hayut recognizes Kabub’s virtues as an outstanding judge who is well acquainted with multiple fields of law. However, his impressive credentials will not necessarily result in his nomination to fill one of the two seats up for grabs.
During conversations with the Select Committee, some members cite the difficulty of appointing another Arab as a Supreme Court justice in addition to George Karra, who has occupied a seat on the Supreme Court justice panel since April. Such a move would likely spark strong opposition from right-wing politicians.