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הארגון הלא ממשלתי עוסק בניטור זכויות האדם בישראל, סדרי המשטר הדמוקרטי ומוסדותיו - בפרט מערכת המשפט ואכיפת החוק. הארגון פעיל במיוחד בחקר תקינותן וישרתן של מערכות מידע ממשלתיות. עיקר פעולתה של העמותה בגילוי, ארכיונאות והפצת מסמכים, דוחות, מאמרים, פרסומים בתקשורת, הופעות בכנסים בתחומים אלה, וכן - בפעולות משפטיות הנדרשות.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

2020-12-22 משפט נתניהו, השופטים ומערכת נט-המשפט: "ירידת הפורמליזם ועליית הערכים", או "ירידת הפורמליזם ועליית הברדק"?

משפט נתניהו, השופטים ומערכת נט-המשפט: "ירידת הפורמליזם ועליית הערכים", או "ירידת הפורמליזם ועליית הברדק"?

בקשה להבהרה, שנרשמה היום בתיק ערנות לזכויות האדם נ מדינת ישראל, נתניהו ואח' בבית המשפט העליון, מבקשת מהשופט עופר גרוסקופף להכיר ב"מסמך מיום 22 לספטמבר, 2020" לא רק כ"מסמך בלתי פורמלי", אלא כמסמך "בלתי פורמלי, מחוץ לרישום". כלומר -- פברוק עז מצח למהדרין של בית המשפט המחוזי בירושלים בצוותא חדא עם הנהלת בתי המשפט. פסק דינו הקודם של השופט גרוסקופף בתיק צרניק נ מדינת ישראל, נתניהו ואח' בעליון חייב את קיום זכות העיון ב"פתקים הצהובים" בתיק מדינת ישראל נ נתניהו בבית המשפט המחוזי בירושלים. בתגובה, בית המשפט המחוזי בירושלים והנהלת בתי המשפט טרחו בצוותא חדא, יצרו ושלחו למבקש העיון מסמך בלתי פורמלי, מחוץ לרישום, המכונה "המסמך מיום 22 לספטמבר, 2020". "המסמך מיום 22 לספטמבר, 2020" נועד להיחזות ע"י מקבלו כהמצאה בכיכול של כתב בית דין כביכול, וכביצוע כביכול של פסק דינו של השופט עופר גרוסקוף בעליון. תחילה, ניתן היה אולי לראות ב"מסמך מיום 22 לספטמבר, 2020" טעות או שגגה של עובד זוטר במזכירות. אולם בהמשך, מכתב מ"מבקרת פנים" בהנהלת בתי המשפט והחלטה מיום 26 לאוקטובר, 2020 של השופטת פרידמן פלדמן ניסו לשכנע את מקבלו של "המסמך מיום 22 לספטמבר, 2020", שהוא כתב בית דין אותנטי בתיק  מדינת ישראל נ נתניהו. לכן, יש לראות במסמך ובשליחתו הטעיה, תרמית ו/או מרמה. בהמשך, השופטת פרידמן-פלדמן גם מנעה את זכות העיון ("עקרון יסוד בכל משטר דמוקרטי... חוקתי, על חוקי...") ברישומים (שאינם קיימים) של "המסמך מיום 22 בספטמבר" במערכת נט-המשפט. 

הפרשה מדגימה בצורה חסרת תקדים את אופיה של מערכת נט-המשפט כמכשיר לביצוע משחקי צדפות [shell games] או תעלולי ביטחון [confidence tricks]. איך ניתן להסביר את התופעה, בה שופטינו, האמונים על המלל הדמוקרטי, החוקתי, על-חוקי, עוסקים בתעלולים מסוג זה? הליך ראוי, משפט הוגן ופומבי אינם מתאימים להם?

האירועים בתיק מדינת ישראל נ נתניהו חייבים לעורר בכל בר דעת חששות כבדים ביחס להתנהלות בתי המשפט בענייניהם של א/נשים מן השורה בשגרה היום-יומית ...

קראו בבלוג: https://human-rights-alert.blogspot.com/2020/12/2020-12-22.html

 
 

 תל-אביב, 22 לדצמבר - בקשה להבהרה הוגשה היום לשופט עופר גרוסקופף בתיק רע"א 8338 ערנות לזכויות האדם נ' מדינת ישראל, נתניהו ואח' בבית המשפט העליון.  החלטתו של השופט גרוסקופף מיום 17 לדצמבר באותו התיק מכירה חלקית, על תנאי, במשתמע בכך שבית המשפט המחוזי בירושלים והנהלת בתי המשפט פעלו בצוותא חדא, יצרו ושלחו "מסמך בלתי פורמלי" כביצוע כביכול של פסק דינו של השופט גרוסקופף ברע"א 4221/20 צרניק נ מדינת ישראל, נתניהו ואח', שחייב את מימוש זכות העיון ב"פתקים הצהובים" במערכת נט-המשפט. הבקשה להבהרה מבקשת את תיקון נוסח החלטתו של השופט גרוסקופף, כך שתציין במפורש "מסמך בלתי פורמלי מחוץ לרישום"... כלומר -- פברוק למהדרין.
לאחר קבלת הפברוק המכונה "המסמך מיום 22 לספטמבר, 2020":
* המזכירה הראשית של בית המשפט המחוזי בירושלים, המופקדת על אישור האותנטיות של כתבי בית המשפט, סירבה לענות על פניות שביקשו שתבהיר אם מדובר בהמצאה כדין של כתב בית דין אותנטי בתיק מדינת ישראל נ נתניהו.
* "מבקרת פנים" בהנהלת בתי המשפט שלחה מכתב תשובה במקום המזכירה הראשית. המכתב נועד  לשכנע את מקבלו, ש"המסמך מיום 22 לספטמבר, 2020" הוא כתב בית דין אותנטי בתיק מדינת ישראל נ נתניהו. לכן יש לראות במכתבה של "מבקרת הפנים" הטעיה, תרמית ו/או מרמה.
* בתגובה על "בקשה להליך ראוי וקיום חובת תום לב", השופטת רבקה פרידמן-פלדמן נתנה החלטה, שנועדה גם היא לשכנע את מקבלה, ש"המסמך מיום 22 לספטמבר, 2020" הוא כתב בית דין אותנטי בתיק מדינת ישראל נ נתניהו. לכן יש לראות גם בהחלטתה של השופטת פרידמן-פלדמן הטעיה, תרמית ו/או מרמה.
פרופ' מני מאוטנר תיאר את ההתפתחות במשפט הישראלי בסוף המאה שעברה כ"ירידת הפורמליזם ועליית הערכים"... שנים אח"כ הודלפה חוות דעתה של פרופ' דפנה הקר בנושא התנהלות בתי המשפט - "ירידת הפורמליזם ועליית הברדק"...  
תיק מדינת ישראל נ נתניהו מספק תיעוד חסר תקדים של התנהלות בתי המשפט היום: השופטים והנהלת בתי המשפט נטלו לעצמם את הסמכות לפברק בעזות מצח בהליכים הפליליים נגד ראש הממשלה -- פרשה חסרת תקדים בחשיבותה מבחינה חוקתית, פוליטית וחברתית ...
תיק מדינת ישראל נ נתניהו גם מספק תיעוד חסר תקדים כיצד מערכת נט-המשפט הפכה את ההליכים בבתי המשפט ל"משחקי צדפות", או "תעלולי ביטחון" - מעשי הונאה מוכרים...
תיק מדינת ישראל נ נתניהו חייב לעורר בכל בר דעת חשושות כבדים ביחס להתנהלות בתי המשפט בענייניהם של א/נשים מן השורה בשגרה היום-יומית ...


 


תמונות. "המסמך מיום 22 לספטמבר, 2020": עמודים מס’ 1 ו-5 מתוך תמסורת פקס אנונימית בת חמישה עמודים, שהתקבלה ביום 22 בספטמבר, 2020, ונועדה להיחזות ע"י מקבליה כהמצאה של הודעת מזכירות  - כתב בית דין  בת"פ 67104-01-20 מדינת ישראל נ נתניהו ואח' בבית המשפט המחוזי בירושלים - שהוא ביצוע פסק דינו של השופט גרוסקופף בבית המשפט העליון.  אין בראשו של המסמך סמל המדינה, אין בראשו שמו של בית המשפט, אין עליו תאריך, אין עליו שמו ותפקידו של מחברו, ואין עליו חתימה. המסמך נחזה בעיני אדם מן היישוב כמסמך שאינו כתב בית דין אותנטי. פברוק במקרה הטוב... 

  

תמונות. שופטי המותב בתיק מדינת ישראל נ נתניהו בבית המשפט המחוזי בירושלים: רבקה פרידמן- פלדמן, משה בר-עם, עודד שחם. הבקשה להליך ראוי וקיום חובת תום לב בתיק מדינת ישראל נ נתניהו ואח' העלתה את הפקפוקים ביחס לטיבו של "המסמך מיום 22 לספטמבר, 2020". החלטתה של ראשת המותב, השופטת רבקה פרידמן-פלדמן, מיום 26 לאוקטובר, 2020, על הבקשה להליך ראוי וקיום חובת תום לב אומרת: "לשם כך, טרחה מזכירות בית המשפט, בהנחיית הנהלת בתי המשפט ובתיאום איתה, והקלידה עבור המבקש את כל ההחלטות... והעלתה את המסמך לנט-המשפט ביום 22.9.2020". החלטה זו מבהירה ש"המסמך מיום 22 לספטמבר, 2020" אינו תולדת טעות או שגגה של עובד מזכירות זוטר... לכן, יש לראות ב"מסמך מיום 22 לספטמבר, 2020" הטעיה/תרמית ו/או מרמה...

להלן הבקשה להבהרה, שנרשמה היום בבית המשפט העליון בתיק רע"א 20/8338 ערנות לזכויות האדם נ מדינת ישראל, נתניהו ואח'.

[Bilingual record – English follows the Hebrew]


בבית המשפט העליון                                                       רע"א 20/8338


בשבתו כבית משפט לערעורים אזרחיים


1. ערנות לזכויות האדם אל"מ

ע"ר 580654598

2. ד"ר יוסף צרניק

ערנות לזכויות האדם אל"מ

ת"ד 33407, תל-אביב

דוא"ל: joseph.zernik

פקס: 077-3179186

                                    המבקשים


נ ג ד -


1. מדינת ישראל

באמצעות פרקליטות מיסוי וכלכלה

דוא"ל: DA-TLV-finance@

2. בנימין נתניהו

באמצעות עו"ד עמית חדד

דוא"ל: office@

3. שאול אלוביץ'

באמצעות עו"ד ג'קי חן

דוא"ל: jack@

4. איריס אלוביץ'

כנ"ל

5. ארנון מוזס

באמצעות עו"ד נוית נגב

דוא"ל: main@s

                                    המשיבים 


בקשה להבהרה


מוגשת בזאת בקשה להבהרה מטעם המבקשים בעניין החלטתו של כב’ השופט עופר גרוסקופף מיום 17 לדצמבר, 2020 בתיק זה.

פסקה 2 להחלטתו של כב’ השופט גרוסקופף אומרת ביחס ל"מסמך מיום 22 לספטמבר, 2020" – "אף אם יש ממש בטענות המבקשים כי בעקבות פסק הדין הקודם נשלח להם תחילה מסמך בלתי פורמלי…" [קו תחתון הוסף – י’ צ’] [1]. בכך מקבלת ההחלטה, חלקית, על תנאי, את טענות המבקשים בעניין טיבו של "המסמך מיום 22 לספטמבר, 2020". כמו כן, אמירה זו נמנעת מהתייחסות למשלוח המסמך כ"המצאה".

ליבתה של הבקשה בתיק זה עוסק בשאלה קרובה, אך שונה: האם משלוח "המסמך מיום 22 לספטמבר, 2020" היה המצאה של כתב בית דין שנרשם כדין בתיק בית המשפט בגדר ת"פ 67104-01-20 מדינת ישראל נ נתניהו ואח'?

ביתר דיוק, השאלה העקרונית בתיק זה היא: האם בעל דין, שקיבל המצאה לכאורה של כתב בית דין לכאורה, שנחזתה כמשלוח של מסמך בלתי פורמלי מחוץ לרישום, רשאי לעיין בנתוני הרישום של אותו מסמך לכאורה ואותה המצאה לכאורה בתיק האלקטרוני במערכת נט-המשפט, על מנת לברר ולהבחין אל נכון אם המסמך הוא כתב בית דין אותנטי, תקף, שנרשם בתיק בית המשפט והומצא כדין, או שמא המסמך הוא רק טיוטה בלתי פורמלית, חסרת תוקף, מחוץ לרישום, שנשלחה בעלמא?

לטענת המבקשים זכותו של בעל דין לברר אל נכון את מקורו של המסמך ככתב בית דין אותנטי, תקף, שנרשם בתיק בית המשפט, ואת משלוחו כהמצאה כדין, שנרשמה בתיק בית המשפט, באמצעות מימוש זכות העיון של בעל דין (אף ללא הגשת בקשה כלל). זכות זו קבועה בתקנה 3 לתקנות בתי המשפט ובתי הדין לעבודה (עיון בתיקים), התשס"ג-2003, וקבועה גם בהלכה המחייבת בפסקה פסקה 6 לפסק דינה של הנשיאה דורית ביניש בבג"ץ האגודה לזכויות האזרח נ' שר המשפטים ואחרים [2]. כמו כן יש לציין, שפסקה 17 לאותו פסק הדין גם קובעת, שזכות זו היא מימושו של - "עקרון יסוד בכל משטר דמוקרטי... חוקתי, על חוקי... ".

ועוד לטענת המבקשים, שלילתה של זכות העיון של בעל דין בנסיבות הנ"ל נוגדת את הזכות להליך ראוי, נוגדת את הזכות למשפט הוגן ופומבי, ועלולה להיחזות כסוג של משחק צדפות [shell game] או תעלול ביטחון [confidence trick].

לפיכך מתבקש בית המשפט הנכבד להבהיר את פסקה 2 להחלטתו מיום 17 לדצמבר, 2020, כדלהלן:

במקום, "אף אם יש ממש בטענות המבקשים כי בעקבות פסק הדין הקודם נשלח להם תחילה מסמך בלתי פורמלי…", ייאמר, "אף אם יש ממש בטענות המבקשים כי בעקבות פסק הדין הקודם נשלח להם תחילה מסמך בלתי פורמלי מחוץ לרישום…".

מן הדין והצדק שבית המשפט ייעתר לבקשה זו.

21 בדצמבר, 2020

יוסף צרניק

ערנות לזכויות האדם אל”מ (ע”ר)
______

1 ב"פסק הדין הקודם" - הכוונה היא לפסק דינו של כב’ השופט עופר גרוסקופף ברע"א 4421/20 ד"ר יוסף צרניק נ' מדינת ישראל ([פורסם בנבו] ‏20.8.2020 ) - י’ צ’
2 בג"ץ 5917/97 האגודה לזכויות האזרח נ' שר המשפטים ואחרים ([פורסם בנבו],8.10.2009)





Monday, December 14, 2020

PM Netanyahu’s prosecution and Net-HaMishpat – the Israeli courts’ case management system

 PM Netanyahu’s prosecution and Net-HaMishpat – the Israeli courts’ case management system

Joseph Zernik, PhD

Human Rights Alert NGO

Israel

Abstract

Instant case study is based on ongoing prosecution of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of trust. The case has generated unprecedented circumstances, which have been described as a constitutional crisis, social disintegration, and a trial of the justice system itself. The court case has also provided unprecedented documentation of lack of validity and integrity in design and operation of Net-HaMishpat – the court’s case management system. Vast majority of the decisions in the case were kept inaccessible to the public, moreover, the trial court judges denied a request to inspect and to copy such decisions, reasoning the decisions were “post-it” decisions (similar to Outlook “sticky notes”), which were of “technical” but not “substantive” nature. In the first appeal, judgment of the Supreme Court ruled that the trial court must allow the decisions to be inspected. It was hailed as an “historic event in the our justice system”. Permanent changes in Net-HaMishpat system have followed the judgment in the first appeal. The integrity of such recent changes in the system are critically reviewed. The manner in which the trial court purported to execute the Supreme Court judgment is reviewed as well. It would be deemed by a reasonable person a “fabrication” – invalid service of an invalid court record. Moreover, the trial court denied access to inspect the entries of such purported court record and its purported service in the Net-HaMishpat system. A second appeal is now pending before the Supreme Court, asking: Is a person, who receives a dubious service of a dubious record from the court, permitted to ascertain the authenticity, validity and authority of such record by inspecting the corresponding data entries in the court’s case management system? Invalidity of IT systems in the Israeli courts has been repeatedly reported over the past decade. The implementation of such systems was claimed to be an enabler of serious deterioration in integrity of the justice system. Case management systems of the courts present a unique example of “Code is Law”, given their utmost significance in the safeguard of human rights and democratic institutions. Human Rights activists and IT experts should assume a voluntary duty to monitor such systems.

Introduction

In January 2020, prime minister Netanyahu was indicted on bribery, fraud and breach of trust in the Jerusalem District Court [i,ii]. The indictment generated unprecedented constitutional, political and social crisis [iii]. In the aftermath, Netanyahu and his supporters have engaged in incitement against law and justice agencies and against his opponents, claiming that the indictment and prosecution amount to “framing” and unlawful attempt to topple a democratically elected prime minister [iv,v]. On the other hand, protesters have taken to the streets for months, demanding Netanyahu’s immediate resignation and further investigations of alleged corruption affairs [vi].

Confidence in conduct of the trial court is limited: A renowned media personality, Amit Segal, openly advocates conduct of a “Kuntz” in this trial [vii]. And recently retired State Attorney Shai Nitzan, provided the opinion that the trial might not take place at all [viii].

Netanyahu’s prosecution is only the latest in a series of high level government corruption scandals in Israel over the past decade, including serious corruption scandals of law and justice authorities [ix,x,xi,xii]. The current report examines the role of invalid case management systems of the courts in undermining the rule of law.

State of Israel v Netanyahu: Denial of access to inspect court decisions

Routine inspection of the online docket of State of Israel v Netanyahu et al (67104-01-20) in Net-HaMishpat case management/public access system in June 2020 revealed that only 16 decisions were accessible in the public docket, while the latest request/motion numbers were in the 40s. It became obvious that in a case, which was defined “Open to the Public”, the majority of court decisions had been excluded from public access. Consequently, request to inspect all decisions was filed with the Jerusalem District Court [xiii].

The request was denied in the June 14, 2020 decision by the three-judge panel, reasoning: “Pertaining to inspection of court decisions, the rule concerning “Public Hearing” applies… therefore, requesters and others are permitted to inspect court decisions, which are periodically published. Yet, one should distinguish between material decisions, where the duty to publish applies, and technical decisions, typically rendered as post-it decisions, where there is no publication duty” [xiv]. Such reasoning had no foundation in the law.

The June 14, 2020 decision was issued in a fully structured decision format (Figure 1). Key features of such format are: a) Coat of arms of the State of Israel and name of the Jerusalem District Court in the letterhead, b) title of the court record - “Decision” - in bold, underline, following listing of parties, and c) date and signature boxes, showing “graphic signatures” (see Discussion, below) at the end of the document.

In contrast, “post-it” decisions (see example in Figure 3, below) are yellow rectangular objects, which are pasted on top of another electronic court record (typically – a pleading by a party), and are similar to “sticky notes” in Microsoft Outlook. Post-it decisions are noted for their informal format: a) There is no listing of the parties, and b) there is no “graphic signature”.



Figure 1. State of Israel v Netanyahu et al (67104-01-20) in the Jerusalem District Court: June 14, 2020 decision by the 3-judge panel denying the request to inspect decisions.

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First Supreme Court appeal

In late June 2020, appeal was filed in the Israeli Supreme Court under Zernik v State of Israel et al (4421/20), originating in the Jerusalem District Court’s decision, denying access to “post-it”, “technical” decisions [xv]. Of note, responding to the appeal, the State Attorney’s office did not object to the inspection, whereas all Defendants’ counsel filed responses, opposing the appeal. In August 2020, Supreme Court Justice Ofer Grosskopf rendered his judgment, mandating that the “post-it”, “technical” decision be served on the Requester of Inspection [xvi]. The judgment was hailed in a report by renowned criminal defense attorney Avigdor Feldman in Haaretz daily as “an historic event in our justice system” [xvii]. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel issued a special communique in this matter [xviii].

Perverted execution of the Supreme Court Judgment by the District Court

On September 22, 2020, an unusual fax transmission was received by the Requester of Inspection (Figure 2) [xix].



Figure 2. State of Israel v Netanyahu et al (67104-01-20) in the Jerusalem District Court: Pages 1 and 5 of a September 22, 2020, 5-page fax transmission.

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The 5-page document appeared intended to be perceived by its recipient as court record and execution of the Supreme Court judgment. It did not include copies of the original post-it decisions, but re-typed text of some 25 “post-it” decisions. However, such document couldn’t be deemed by a reasonable person a valid court record: In contrast with valid court records, rendered by the court itself, it failed to be issued on the letterhead, showing the coast of arms of the State of Israel and the name of the Jerusalem District Court. Furthermore, it failed to name its author/filer, the author’s position, signature, and date of filing, at its end. It likewise failed to show any sign that it had been filed and entered in State of Israel v Netanyahu et al (67104-01-20) in the Jerusalem District Court (e.g., “Filed/Entered” stamp by the Office of the Clerk).

Moreover, the document, which was faxed from some manual fax machine, was received with no cover letter by the Clerk of the Court, as is typical in authentic electronic service in other cases of the courts. There was neither any indication on the document itself, who its sender was, nor was the sender identified in the fax header line.

Consequently, inquiry was filed with the Clerk of the Court, asking to clarify, whether such transmission and such document originated in the Jerusalem District Court, and the nature of such document [xx]. The Clerk of the Court never responded on the inquiry. Instead, response on behalf of the Clerk of the Court was received from an Internal Auditor in the Administration of Courts, trying to persuade the receiver that the “September 22 document” was a valid court record, which was duly served by the Jerusalem District Court.

Therefore, request “for due process and upholding good faith duty” was filed in State of Israel v Netanyahu et al in the Jerusalem District Court, explicitly stating “serious concern that the September 22, 2020 fax transmission and the document in it were fake service of a fake court record” [xxi].

In response, Judge Rivca Friedman-Feldman, head of the 3-judge panel in the Jerusalem District Court, rendered the October 26, 2020 decision, stating: “For such purpose, the Office of the Clerk toiled, under the guidance of the Administration of Courts and in coordination with it… and uploaded the document to Net-HaMishpat system on September 22, 2020… The Office of the Clerk shall again send Requesters the September 22, 2020 document, attached to instant decision” [underline and bold in the original – jz] (Figure 3).


Figure 3. State of Israel v Netanyahu et al (67104-01-20) in the Jerusalem District Court: October 26, 2020 decision by Judge Rivca Friedman-Feldman on “request for due process and upholding good faith duty”.

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Such statement was distinctive in avoiding the use of valid legal terms. It failed to refer to the document by any formal legal term, such as “decision”, or “notice”, only the “September 22, 2020 document’. It failed to state that the document was “filed” and/or “entered” in the court file, instead stating that it was “uploaded” to Net-HaMishpat system. Likewise, it failed to order that the document be “served”, instead ordering it to be “sent”.

Following the October 26, 2020 decision the “September 22, 2020 document” was again received, again by manual fax from an unidentified source.

Denial of access to inspect entries of the “September 22, 2020 document” and its service in Net-HaMishpat

Requester of the Inspection was unconvinced either by the letter from Administration of Courts, or by the Judge Friedman-Feldman October 26, 2020 decision that the “September 22, 2020 document” indeed was an authentic court record and authentic execution of Supreme Court Justice Grosskopf judgment.

The “September 22, 2020 document” failed to appear in the publicly accessible docket in Net-HaMishpat, and likewise, the docket showing registration of the authentic service by the Court was and is inaccessible to the public and Requester of Inspection.

Therefore, Notice of Inspection was file in the Jerusalem District Court, demanding to inspect the entries and registration data in Net-HaMishpat, corresponding to the “September 22, 2020 document and its service [xxii]. The Notice of inspection stated that Requester of Inspection was a party to the ancillary process of request to inspect, and claimed that as such, he held the right to inspect the respective entries, pursuant to Regulation 3 of the Regulations of Inspection (see under Discussion, below).

In her November 17, 2020 “post-it” decision, Judge Friedman-Feldman effectively denied access to inspect such data in Net-HaMishpat (Figure 4). The decision states: “On its face, request no. 85 was addressed in the November 01, 2020 Notice by the Clerk”. The November 01, 2020 Notice by the Clerk (Figure 5a) was a new document, purported to replace the “September 22, 2020 document”, but it failed to address the Notice of Inspection in any way, and it failed to provide the data in Net-HaMishpat, pertaining to the “September 22, 2020 document”, if they existed at all. The November 01, 2020 Notice by the Clerk opens with the statement: ‘Per your request, and following a document that was transferred to you on September 22, 2020, content of the post-it decisions is attached also as a “Notice by the Clerk”’. It should be again noted that invalid legal terms are used: “September 22, 2020 document”, and “transferred” but not “served”.

In contrast with the “September 22, 2020 document”, the entry in Net-HaMishpat for the November 01, 2020 Notice by the Clerk was and is accessible to the Requester of Inspection (Figure 5b). However, the entry for its service is inaccessible.


Figure 4. State of Israel v Netanyahu et al (67104-01-20) in the Jerusalem District Court: November 17, 2020 “post-it” decision, pasted on top of the Requester of Inspection’s “request for rendering a decision in re: notice of inspection (no. 85)”. The text says: “On its face, request no. 85 was addressed in the November 01, 2020 Notice by the Clerk”. The lower-left corner bears the newly introduced note: “***digitally signed***”.

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a)


b)

Figure 5. State of Israel v Netanyahu et al (67104-01-20) in the Jerusalem District Court: a) pages 1 and 5 of the November 01, 2020 Notice by the Clerk. The notice is a fully structured court record, showing the coat of arms of the State of Israel and the name of the Jerusalem District Court on its letterhead, and showing the name of of Nurit Ringler-Cohen, Department Director and her “graphic signature” at its end. b) Docket entry corresponding to the November 01, 2020 Notice by the Clerk, under no. 85 – second line from the top.

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Second Supreme Court appeal

In late November 2020, a second appeal was filed in the Supreme Court [xxiii]. The legal question in the second appeal is: Is a party, who receives dubious service of a dubious record from the court, permitted to inspect the registration data of such document in Net-HaMishpat system, in order to distinguish and ascertain, whether it is an authentic, valid court record, or merely an invalid “draft”, or “fabrication”?

The second appeal is still pending.

Late 2020 Changes in Net-HaMishpat system

Shortly after the August 2020 Supreme Court judgment in the first appeal, the Administration of Courts introduced two significant new features in Net-HaMishpat (Figures 4, 6).

First – all “post-it” decisions now include a new comment in their lower-left corner – “***digitally signed***” (see for example – Figure 4, above).

Second – all “post-it” decisions now purportedly appear in the public access system docket. However, the “post-it” decisions do not appear as a true copy of the original. Instead, their text is copied into a new format, bearing the watermark - “copy of a decision”, and with the footnote disclaimer (in red) - “*** In any case, the binding version is the one in the decision, signed by the judge” (Figure 6).


Figure 6. State of Israel v Netanyahu et al (67104-01-20) in the Jerusalem District Court: November 17, 2020 decision by Judge Rivca Friedman-Feldman (corresponding to the “post-it” decision, shown in Figure 4, above, as it appears in the public access docket.

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Discussion

The abbreviated sequence of events in State of Israel v Netanyahu, outlined about, may appear convoluted and incredible. However, it is not at all unusual.

Pending second appeal

The state of affairs in the second appeal is rather intractable: The Jerusalem District Court twice faxed to Requester of Inspection the “September 22, 2020 document” through manual fax machines, but not through electronic service in Net-HaMishpat (see below). The document itself appears invalid on its face. A letter by the Internal Auditor of the Administration of Court as well as the October 26, 2020 decision by Judge Rivca Friedman-Feldman attempted to persuade the Requester of Inspection that the “September 22, 2020 document” was an authentic and valid court record and its service was authentic and valid service by the Court. However, the Jerusalem District Court denies Requester of Inspection access to inspect the corresponding data entries in Net-HaMishpat, if they exist at all... Fraud experts are likely to deem such state of affairs “Shell Game”, or “Confidence Trick” [xxiv].

Denying the appeal would deny a party’s right to inspect his own court process – contradicting the written law, Supreme Court binding ruling, and “a fundamental principle in any democratic regime” (see below). On the other hand, mandating the right of Requester of Inspection to inspect the Net-HaMishpat data entries, pertaining “September 22, 2020 document”, is likely to demonstrate that no such data exist. Therefore, in may cast the Administration of Courts Internal Auditor and Judge Friedman-Feldman as erroneous and/or misleading. It may further undermine public trust in the court process in State of Israel v Netanyahu – a case of unprecedented constitutional, political and social significance.

The right to inspect and Net-HaMishpat

Over the past decade, numerous attempts to inspect court decisions in various court files in various Israeli courts indicate that the denial of access to inspect court decisions is the rule, not the exception. The exception in this case was in fact the August 2020, Supreme Court Justice Ofer Grosskopf judgment, which mandated that the right to inspect be upheld.

The right to inspect differs in scope in various jurisdiction. In the US, such right is perhaps the most comprehensive today, including all court decisions and all pleadings by the parties. The landmark US Supreme Court judgment in Nixon v Warner Communications (the Nixon tapes affair) provides that such right originated in the English common law, and was established inter alia in the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution – freedom of the press [xxv].

In Israel, the right to inspect is much narrower. It is established in the Regulation of Inspection (2003). Regulation 2(b) provides: “Any person is permitted to inspect decisions, which are not lawfully prohibited for publication”. And Regulation 3 provides: “A party is permitted, following the filing of Notice of Inspection to inspect the court file, to which he is a party, unless it is prohibited for his inspection”.

The other main legal reference is the Supreme Court 2009 judgment at the end of a 12-year long petition – Association for Civil Rights in Israel v Minister of Justice [xxvi]. The judgment provides that in both cases – Regulation 2(b) and Regulation 3 – there is no requirement for filing a request in the court. Therefore, both the plain language of the Regulations and the 2009 judgment imply that the judges have no discretion in such matters, unless the corresponding court materials are lawfully sealed.

In addition, Association for Civil Rights judgment states the expectation that once Net-HaMishpat system is up and running, most decisions of the courts would be publicly accessible on an ongoing basis… Obviously, that is not the case. A 2020 newspaper report claims that in about half of Net-HaMishpat court files there are neither publicly accessible decisions nor judgments at all [xxvii].

The Association for Civil Rights judgment further declares that the right to inspect is “a fundamental principle in any democratic regime… constitutional, supra-statutory...” and “a central safeguard for competence of the justice system and public trust in it...”. The judgment cites a long list of similar declarations in previous Supreme Court decisions over decades.

Such concepts are not original. The right to inspect court records is indeed considered a fundamental safeguard for integrity of the courts. In the Nixon tapes affair, the US Supreme Court states: “It is clear that the courts of this country recognize a general right to inspect and copy public records and documents, including judicial records and documents. In contrast to the English practice... American decisions generally do not condition enforcement of this right on a proprietary interest in the document or upon a need for it as evidence in a lawsuit. The interest necessary to support the issuance of a writ compelling access has been found, for example, in the citizen's desire to keep a watchful eye on the workings of public agencies... and in a newspaper publisher's intention to publish information concerning the operation of government...” [xxviii] Obviously, “watchful eye” on workings of public agencies” and “operation of government” includes first and foremost the workings and operation of the courts themselves.

The courts’ duty to maintain identifiable, authentic court records

The significance of authentication and due service was already established and elaborated in Jewish Halacha over 2000 year ago. The first Mishnah chapters in Gittin Tractate, as well as their elaboration in the Talmud are entirely dedicated to questions pertaining to authentication and due service of divorce documents [xxix].

The significance of authentication and due service has been recognized for centuries in the Western World as a fundamental principle in the conduct of competent courts. Such principle was established as a Constitutional norm almost 250 years ago in Article IV, Section 1 of the Constitution of the United States [xxx].

The identification of the “source”, or the “authority” has also been a central concept in the discourse of scholars of jurisprudence, relative to validity and effect of the justice system. Such concepts are particularly evident in the thinking of the Positivist school, e.g., John Austin, Hans Kelsen and HLA Hart [xxxi]. Such concepts are central to the thinking of the school of Procedural-Natural Law, e.g., Lon L Fuller [xxxii]. The thinking of such scholars holds center stage in the identification and recognition of a “Constitutional Assembly” and a “Constitution” by retired Supreme Court Presiding Justice Meir Shamgar and Supreme Court Presiding Justice Aharon Barak in Bank HaMizrahi judgment – which is often considered the declaration of the “Constitutional Revolution” in the State of Israel [xxxiii].

Issuing legal and/or judicial records, whose source and authority are vague and ambiguous, fundamentally undermines the competence, validity and integrity of the justice system.

In practice, the duty to maintain identifiable, authentic court records is also established in the Hague Apostille Convention (1961, 1965), to which Israel is a party [xxxiv]. Of note, the Human Rights Alert NGO submission to the UN Human Rights Council for the 2018 Universal Periodic Review documented the “fabrication” of Apostille documents by the Israeli courts.

Net-HaMishpat: Post-it decisions

The feature of “post-it” decisions has been repeatedly singled out for criticism: First - “post-it” decision are universally excluded from the public docket, and second – there is no detectable signature on them [xxxv].

The new features in Net-HaMishpat, implemented following the August 2020 Supreme Court judgment fail to fix such defects, moreover, they generate new concerns:

a) The new format of the “post-it” decisions, as they appear in the internal docket (accessible to the court and the parties), shown in Figure 4, above, includes the lower-left corner note: “***digitally signed***”. However, Israeli law does not recognize “digital signature” as a valid form or signature, only “electronic signature” pursuant to the Electronic Signature Act (2001). Therefore, the note “***digitally signed***” makes no sense at all, and only increases the ambiguity.

b) The new format of the “post-it” decisions, as they appear in the external docket (accessible to the public at large) bears the watermark “copy of a decision” (but not “true copy of the original”) and the red footnote disclaimer “*** In any case, the binding version is the one in the decision, signed by the judge”. Combined, such features render the records explicitly neither authentic court records, nor authenticated copies of court records. Therefore, their inclusion in the case management system of the courts only contaminates the database.

c) There is no valid legislation or promulgation relative to the new practices, and the announcement by the Administration of Courts was vague relative to the question whether all post-it decisions, which are not lawfully prohibited for publication would be included in the public dockets. Moreover it remains unclear whether judges are permitted to redact or alter the content of the post-it decisions, prior to publication, without any indication on the face of the published document.

Net-HaMishpat: Fully structured protocols, decisions and judgments

Fully structured decision format is demonstrated in Figures 1 and 3, above. Such records purportedly show signatures of the judges, who rendered the decisions. However, the 2012 Ombudsman of the Judiciary decision in the Judge Varda Alshech “fabricated protocols” affair, explicitly states that such “signatures” are “graphic signatures” - i.e., cut and paste signatures, placed by the secretarial staff, lacking any validity at all [xxxvi]. The Ombudsman’s decision further states that all decision and judgment records in Net-HaMishpat are electronic records, and therefore, they are valid court records only if electronically signed by the judges. Decisions and judgments that are not electronically signed are merely invalid “drafts” (Figure 7a).

The Ombudsman’s decision further states that there is no way to distinguish in printouts and various electronic renditions in Net-HaMishpat system between unsigned “drafts” and valid court records…

Net-HaMishpat: Dockets

The Judge Varda Alshech “fabricated protocols” affair also demonstrates that invalid, unsigned,
“drafts”, or “fabricated” records, including protocols, decisions and judgments can be entered in Net-HaMishpat dockets (Figure 7b).

The September 12, 2011 Judge Varda Alshech “fabricated protocols”, which included decisions and a judgment still appear in the docket to this date.

Net-HaMishpat: Service

The Ombudsman’s decision further determines that valid service in Net-HaMishpat system is only electronic service, using the inherent “Service Application”. At the same time, the Ombudsman’s decision documents that Net-HaMishpat system makes it possible to print out “drafts” and mail them or fax them – amounting to invalid service of invalid documents.

In view of the above discussion, it is patently clear that the “September 22, 2020 document” and its service couldn’t be deemed authentic service of an authentic court record.