The government on Wednesday committed to propose legislation within six months
that would scale back the term length of the Turkel Committee, responsible on
overseeing senior public appointments, and limiting future appointments to one
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein said the government’s
decision was a response to his warnings that such commissions should be
On Monday, the government granted the committee members a third
term whereas previously, such committees could at most serve two terms, a first
term and one extension.
Weinstein said that stricter term limits would
guarantee more independence for a committee that is “the gatekeeper” for top
government officials, since members would know that their decisions would not be
able to ingratiate them with the government to gain additional terms.
committee has been in the spotlight in recent weeks as Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid have attempted, thus far
unsuccessfully, to install a new Bank of Israel governor to replace Stanley
Fischer, who stepped down in June.
The first nominee, former governor
Jacob Frenkel, stepped down over allegations that he shoplifted a garment bag
from the Hong Kong airport Duty Free shop in 2006.
Although he says the
whole incident was a misunderstanding, his failure to disclose the event to the
Turkel Committee caused him further problems, and he eventually withdrew his
nomination amid the public hubub.
The second nominee, Leo Leiderman,
withdrew his candidacy after just two days, apparently fearing a similar
treatment or public revelation.
Reports surfaced that the government
would take a new tack by submitting a list of several candidates to the
committee for vetting before choosing a nominee. A list of several new
candidates popped up in the media as possible third nominees, including
Argentina’s former central banker Mario Blejer, former Bank of Israel deputy
governor Zvi Eckstein, former Bank Mizrahi CEO Victor Medina, and current
Finance Ministry accountant-general Michal Abadi-Boiangiu.
was thought of as the front-runner, Globes reported that Netanyahu’s aides
favored Eckstein, and that Medina had also requested to submit forms to the