(February 25, 2018 / JNS) Two new Israeli Supreme Court justices were confirmed by Israel’s judiciary committee this week, changing the composition of a historically liberal judiciary body.
Alex Stein, a professor at Brooklyn Law school in New York, will become Israel’s first Supreme Court justice born in the former Soviet Union. And at 49, Ofer Grosskopf, a Tel Aviv District judge, is younger than most Supreme Court appointments. (Israeli Supreme Court justices serve until the age of 70.) The two new justices will replace justices Yoram Danziger and Uri Shoham, whose terms end this year.
Stein is considered conservative, while Grosskopf is more liberal. The appointments made by Israeli Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked follow the appointments of four justices in 2017, of which three were considered conservative. Most of Israel’s Supreme Court justices are liberal. The court is known to be one of the most activist courts in the Western world, with little oversight combined with broad powers to cancel legislation and overturn agreements signed by Israel’s executive branch of government.
“This is a festive day for the Israeli judiciary. Stein and Grosskopf are legal luminaries who come from diverse and unique backgrounds, and no one disputes their merit,” said Shaked. “When I took office, one of the goals I set was to increase diversity in the Supreme Court. I have no doubt their contribution to the Supreme Court will leave its mark on the history of the Israeli judiciary.”
Yisrael Beytenu MK Robert Ilatov, a member of the Judicial Nominations Committee, lauded the successful nomination of Stein as “the correction of a historical injustice toward former Soviet Union immigrants,” who comprise 1.4 million of Israel’s citizens and “until recently have not been properly represented in the legal system.”