Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked called the left-leaning Israeli daily Haaretz “a mouthpiece for incitement” over an article labeling a Supreme Court judge a criminal for living in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria).
More than 400,000 Israelis live in 150 communities in biblical Judea and Samaria. The name “West Bank” comes from the 19 years it was under Jordanian control because it was on the west bank of the Jordan River. It’s land Palestinians want for a future state.
Haaretz journalist Uri Misgav accused Justice Noam Sohlberg of violating international criminal law by living in Alon Shvut, a town in Gush Etzion south of Jerusalem – what would probably be known as a suburb anywhere else in the world.
By definition, Misgav alleged, living in Gush Etzion makes Sohlberg a war criminal, which should disqualify him from serving on the nation’s highest court. The author further suggested that Sohlberg’s Orthodox Jewish background could negatively influence his thinking on certain issues.
“[The] Haaretz newspaper shows its true colors,” Israel Hayom quoted Shaked. “It’s not a left-leaning paper for ‘thinking people.’ It doesn’t work to ensure people receive fair treatment. Not even close. What really gets them is that one of the Supreme Court justices lives, heaven forbid, in a community in Judea and Samaria.”
Shaked wasn’t the only one to object to the article.
The Israel Bar Association accused Misgav of “fueling violent discourse,” saying that calling a high court justice a “criminal” is over the top. A judge’s residence, religion or ethnic background is not grounds for media attacks, the bar association said.
According to the report, the newspaper insisted it was not a personal attack on the judge, but rather that living in Gush Etzion could create a “conflict of interests” when ruling on certain cases.
Haaretz publisher Amos Schocken defended Misgav, saying he “simply reached a logical conclusion” based on international law.
Last month, Shaked went on record supporting the application of Israeli law to Jews living in Judea and Samaria, causing some to accuse her of backing annexation of the disputed territories.
This article originally appeared on CBN News, June 14, and reposted with permission.