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September 14: Justice in Israel

September 14, 2014
2_waDorit Beinisch became the first woman President, or head justice, of the 15-member Supreme Court of Israel when she was appointed to that post on this date in 2006, after serving for 28 years in the justice ministry, often as the first woman appointed to various positions, including as State Attorney General. The most well-known decisions of the Supreme Court during her tenure included denying parents the right to use corporal punishment with their children; denying the Israeli Defense Force’s right to use Palestinian as human shields; limiting the detention of noncombatants; forbidding the privatization of prisons; and strengthening women’s capacities to sue for equal pay for equal work. In February, 2012, after 15 years on the Supreme Court, Beinisch was officially replaced in her role by Justice Asher Dan Grunis. One of her rightwing critics labeled her “a controversial judge whose radical left-wing ideology guided her and jurisprudence was just a tool for her.” Shimon Peres described her as “one of the most important and bravest figures that has served at the head of the highest judicial institution in Israel.” “We must be attentive to the distress of the public and to what it feels in its heart without being subject to the influence of groups of one kind or another.”—Dorit Beinisch