Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz on Sunday approved Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's appointment of former Mossad chief Nahum Admoni to head a government war probe, even though the premier personally named Admoni's wife to three separate Civil Service posts in the past, officials said Sunday.
The approval, which came after Mazuz determined that the appointment did not represent a conflict of interest, came as Olmert moved to replace two other panel members - Adm. (res.) Ya'ari, a former navy commander, who is president of Rafael, the armaments development authority, and Maj.-Gen. (res.) David Ivri, a former air force chief who represents Boeing in Israel - nixed by the attorney-general last week.
Channel 2 news reported Sunday that Olmert had approached Maj.-Gen. (res.) Haim Erez, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Ze'ev Livne and Herzl Shapir, a former police inspector-general, as possible replacements, with two of them expected to join the panel, pending their approval by Mazuz.
Despite Mazuz's approval, the revelations about Olmert's connection with Admoni's wife were likely to further increase public pressure on him to appoint a state commission of inquiry into the government's handling of the war.
In a sign of growing intragovernmental tension, Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz publicly urged Olmert to immediately appoint a state probe.
Army Radio reported Sunday that in his previous position as minister of industry, trade and labor, Olmert twice chose Nina Admoni for a seat on an unspecified board of directors and also appointed her as an observer on a special ministry panel responsible for granting permits to foreign corporations.
It also reported that Nina Admoni serves as the representative of an American company which has commercial ties with Boeing, which supplies aircraft parts to the air force.
The Movement for Quality Government in Israel, which has been leading a public campaign to establish a state commission of inquiry, urged Admoni to remove his candidacy due to his wife's connections with Olmert. Eliad Shraga, the head of group, said Sunday night that the organization was considering petitioning the High Court of Justice.