Ethiopian Israeli women appointed judges

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NEWLY APPOINTED Judge Ednaki Sebhat Haimowitz shakes hand with President Reuven Rivlin yesterday at

 NEWLY APPOINTED Judge Ednaki Sebhat Haimowitz shakes hand with President Reuven Rivlin yesterday at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.. (photo credit:MARK NEYMAN/GPO

Two Ethiopian-Israeli Jews broke through the glass ceiling on Tuesday, becoming the first to be appointed judges. They were among six women who were included in the 13 new judicial appointments as judges and registrars serving in the district, magistrate’s and traffic courts in Haifa and Tel Aviv.

Although there is no shortage of Ethiopian-Israeli lawyers, none had previously reached the bench.

At the appointments ceremony at the President’s Residence, Ednaki Sebhat Haimowitz and Esther Tafta Gardi were the last two judges to be called to make the pledge not to pervert the law or to show favor. Haimowitz has been appointed to the Central District Magistrate’s Court, and Gardi to the Haifa District Traffic Court.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said it is high time for all sectors of the population to be represented in the judiciary, though she hastened to add that they had been chosen for their qualifications and their abilities, and not to simply fill a void in the demographic mosaic of the courts.

President Reuven Rivlin told the new judges that there had been a glut of arguments lately accusing the courts of being political and handing down rulings mired in politics.

The process of appointing judges is devoid of politics, he said, and he wants to believe that all judges in Israel are appointed in accordance with their abilities and professional integrity.

“If not, and if everything is indeed political,” Rivlin asked, “what is the point of having judges in the courts?” Rivlin urged the judges to be faithful to the law, not to bow to pressure, and to pursue truth and justice in formulating their decisions.

Supreme Court President Miriam Naor followed a similar line, saying that reports in the media to the effect that judicial appointments were made on the basis of the connections of the candidates to members of the appointments committee were distorted and inaccurate. According to law, she said, all discussion about candidates is classified and free of any political considerations.

Her comments were endorsed by Shaked.

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