The “One Association” faction under Attorney Efi Naveh handily defeated the main rival faction under Attorney Doron Barzilai and challenger Tali Gotlib in Tuesday's election for Israel Bar Association Chairman, and members of the faction also won the contests to head the Bar Association's five districts nationwide.
Naveh's faction was recently attacked as “anti-Zionist” by grassroots Zionist student movement Im Tirtzu, which pointed to the fact that Naveh had gotten Khaled Hosni Zoabi, who described himself as being “non-Zionist” in an interview, appointed as one of the nine members in Israel's Committee for Selection of Judges. Zoabi was re-elected Tuesday to head the Northern District.
The Jewish Home threw its weight behind the religious faction headed by Attorney Yitzhak Natovich, although Natovich called on his supporters to vote for Naveh in the elections for Bar Association Chairman – earning the derision of nationalist website Mida, which said the religious Zionists had been led astray by Naveh's meaningless gestures toward religion.
Since the Bar Association appoints two representatives to the Committee for Selection of Judges, which decides who gets to become a judge in Israel, its political leadership is extremely significant on a national level.
In a conversation with Arutz Sheva, Efi Naveh rejected Im Tirtzu's charges as "spurious."
Khaled Hosni Zoabi “is doing an excellent job” in the Committee for Appointment of Judges, Naveh argued. “He has supported the appointment of numerous religious judges. There was never any criticism of him as harboring an extremist agenda, nor were there allegations that he opposed the appointment of worthy judges. On the contrary – he always goes along with our recommendations.”
Naveh went on to claim that he enjoys the support of the haredi faction in the Bar Association, as well as the religious-Zionist one under Natoivch.
“I am the only one who established a synagogue in his district office,” he said. “I have Torah and Gemara lessons in my district offices. I give Jewish Law a place of honor in study days and I established a Committee for Advancement of Jewish Law. I set up a contact office in Bnei Brak and another one in Ariel, which I funded from my own budget. Let no one lecture me on Judaism.”
The Jewish Home responded to Mida's accusations by saying that the party supported the Tzedek Umishpat faction, which is made up of Jewish Home's people. “The party does not express an opinion regarding the elections for chairman of the Association and therefore does not support any candidate.”