Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court Judge Ronit Poznansky-Katz, who was accused of collusion with a government lawyer in one of the investigations of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, was suspended on Thursday following a disciplinary hearing.
High Court President Esther Hayut rejected Poznansky-Katz’s offer to extend her leave of absence, due to end in April, during a meeting on Thursday. Instead, Hayut suspended her until the disciplinary court rules in her case.
Poznansky-Katz has been under investigation herself after it emerged that she had discussed remand rulings for suspects with Israel Securities Authority attorney Eran Shacham-Shavit. The two planned and rehearsed requests for remand to be made in her court at a later date. In a now-famous text message exchange, he wrote:
“Try and act surprised.”
“I’m practicing my surprised face,” she responded.
In announcing the committee of inquiry into Poznansky-Katz’s conduct, Hayut said that a preliminary investigation had turned up “a series of personal and systemic failures.”
Judge Eliezer Rivlin, the ombudsman handling complaints against judges, ruled there would be no criminal proceedings against Poznansky-Katz, but recommended that she face a disciplinary hearing over “highly inappropriate” communications with the lawyer in the case.
The panel of inquiry was headed by former Court president Asher Grunis along with Court Justice Neal Hendel and the head of the Nazareth District Court.