Skip To Content
Breaking News

New Israeli Supreme Court Justices Named In Possible Shift To The Right

Three conservative new members have been named to Israel’s Supreme Court as part of what the ultranationalist justice minister said on Thursday was her push for a bench more representative of right-wing Israelis.

The 15-member court, widely seen as a liberal bastion, has drawn criticism from the minister, Ayelet Shaked, and other politicians on the right over rulings supporting Palestinian property rights in the occupied West Bank and its occasional reversal of Israeli laws it deemed illegal.

Shaked, a leader of the ultranationalist Jewish Home party, has long said she wanted more conservative judges on the court, where replacements for four justices retiring this year were announced late on Wednesday.

Three of the four new appointees – including a Jewish settler in the occupied West Bank – were on Shaked’s list of preferred candidates considered by a nine-member selection committee on which she serves along with three Supreme Court justices and representatives of the Bar Association.


Shaked had threatened to change a law that would have weakened the justices’ influence in the committee unless it agreed to name more conservative justices.

“A Conservative revolution,” Israel’s best-selling Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper said in a front-page headline about the appointments. But some commentators said it was too early to gauge whether the new justices would promote any dramatic change of tone in the court.

The new justices will include David Mintz, who is a West Bank settler, Yael Vilner, an Orthodox Jewish woman, and Yosef Elron. In the radio interview, Shaked described them as conservatives, and media reports noted that in recent years Mintz had ruled in favor of the government in turning down at least two freedom of information requests by reporters.

The fourth appointee is George Kara, an Arab judge who Israeli media reports termed a compromise candidate backed by the Bar Association.

“My nominees were chosen,” Shaked told Army Radio. “My mission was to ensure all Israelis – and certainly the conservative stream – are represented (on the court).”

Yedidya Stern, a law professor and vice president of the Israel Democracy Institute, a research center whose declared mission is to strengthen the foundations of Israeli democracy, called the four appointees “good and efficient judges.”

But he said the big question was “whether the Supreme Court, with these people, will continue to be a bulwark” against anti-democratic elements in Israeli society.

“In the absence of a written constitution (in Israel), conservatism can be manifested in a weakening in the defense of human rights and minorities,” Stern said on Army Radio.

(Editing by Ralph Boulton)

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning journalism this Passover.

In this age of misinformation, our work is needed like never before. We report on the news that matters most to American Jews, driven by truth, not ideology.

At a time when newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall. That means for the first time in our 126-year history, Forward journalism is free to everyone, everywhere. With an ongoing war, rising antisemitism, and a flood of disinformation that may affect the upcoming election, we believe that free and open access to Jewish journalism is imperative.

Readers like you make it all possible. Right now, we’re in the middle of our Passover Pledge Drive and we need 500 people to step up and make a gift to sustain our trustworthy, independent journalism.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Our Goal: 500 gifts during our Passover Pledge Drive!

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.