Press Release: Elad’s Petition to disqualify Government Decision based on Board Member’s Political Views is rejected

District Court Judge Nava Ben-Or has rejected a petition by Elad demanding to retroactively disqualify a member of the National Planning and Building Council. The judge ordered Elad to pay trial costs to the respondents.

The persecution of civil servants based on what right-wing organizations decry as their illegitimate political views, did not succeed in the District Court. The move included media incitement against the member of the Committee and a discussion in the Knesset’s Internal Affairs Committee. Attorney Itay Mack, representing Emek Shaveh as one of the respondents, claimed that persecuting of a member of the Planning and Building Commission because of his political views is akin to disqualifying judges on such basis.

In June 2015, the Appeals Committee of the National Council for Planning and Building ruled to reduce the size of the Kedem Center (planned across from Jerusalem’s Old City walls atop an archaeological excavation in Silwan village). The Elad Foundation is trying to fight the decision in various ways, including committing a personal assault on a member of the Committee.

Elad faulted the Committee member and demanded a retroactive invalidation claiming he was prejudiced against the project and that his political views disqualified him from serving on the Committee. Elad found a petition from 7 years ago opposing construction in East Jerusalem, signed by the committee member, and added to this “evidence” a media campaign timed with the date of the hearing to cast doubt on his competence. Thus they tried to overturn the decision of the appeals committee and force the acceptance of the minority opinion that supported their plan.

Following the media campaign (e.g. Suspected conflict of interests in the committee dealing with Elad Association) and Exclusive: Interior Ministry officials thwarted construction in East Jerusalem), the Knesset’s Internal Affairs and Environment Committee held a hearing in August, where similar claims were made. The final step taken by Elad was to appeal to the District Court. In the court hearing Judge Nava Ben-Or rejected the arguments of the Elad representatives and determined that the Committee member followed the professional standards, and therefore has no reason to disqualify him. The judge also ruled that Elad must pay back the respondents, among them Emek Shaveh, court costs totaling 5000 NIS.

The attempt to undermine the professional legitimacy of the member of the Planning and Building Council feeds into the widespread public conduct of right-wing organizations. Their aggressive media campaigns and personal attacks target persons identified by them as holding illegitimate political views, which are not identical to their own.



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