26 September 2023

ISRAEL: AG attacks recruitment paralysis

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Israel’s Attorney General, Avichai Mandelblit (pictured) has rejected an assertion by Civil Service Commissioner, Daniel Hershkowitz that no selection committee can currently be formed to determine the country’s next State Attorney.

Israel has been without a permanent State Attorney, whose office guides prosecutions authorised by the Attorney General since December 2019 when Shai Nitzan’s term ended.

Mr Mandelblit himself has been Acting State Attorney in recent months.

Mr Hershkowitz says no selection committee can be formed because Acting Director General of the Ministry of Justice, Sigal Yaakobi, cannot participate

Minister for Justice, Avi Nissenkorn recently moved to start the process to select a new State Attorney, despite no agreement with Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party on the matter.

Mr Netanyahu, on trial in three corruption cases, is seen as unlikely to agree to the Blue and White Party Minister’s preferred pick for the State Attorney post.

Mr Mandelblit, who would be the head of the committee if it formed, stressed the importance of appointing the State prosecutor.

“There is great public importance for the committee to be established as soon as possible for the appointment of a key position in the law enforcement system in the State of Israel,” Mr Mandelblit said.

Meanwhile, a row has broken out surrounding Mr Hershkowitz, who was recently diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus, but hid the fact from Public Servants who worked with him.

Sources said Mr Hershkowitz contracted the virus from a driver who complained of symptoms.

They said the 67-year-old was not legally obligated to report his illness to the public, “but as the person in charge of about 70,000 employees, he is expected to act transparently”.

Jerusalem, 17 October 2020

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