Livni, cabinet official clash on panel transparency

Justice minister, Mandelblit disagree over whether to publicize dealings of Ministerial Committee on Legislation.

May 27, 2013 11:31
1 minute read.
MK TZIPI LIVNI (center) and, from left, MKs Elazar Stern, Amram Mitzna, Meir Sheetrit, Amir Peretz

Livni Party faction meeting 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and cabinet secretary Avichai Mandelblit on Sunday went toe-to-toe over transparency and secrecy of the proceedings of the Ministerial Committee on Legislation.

Livni has campaigned heavily to make all votes and dealings of the committee public.

Recently, she has even said, having held a debate on the issue, that “despite significant resistance” she would move forward with her transparency initiative.

But on Sunday she ran into a legal roadblock.

Mandelblit, who until recently was responsible for maintaining a wide blanket of secrecy as the IDF’s magistrate advocate-general, told Livni and the committee that the votes could not be publicized without a decision of the cabinet to change the articles of operations for the government.

Livni said the next step would be for Mandelblit to submit his opinion on the legal aspects of the issue to her and to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

She added that if it is necessary, she would work speedily to bring the issue to a vote of the full cabinet.

In related news, Habayit Hayehudi’s MK Orit Struck said that the back and forth between Livni and Mandelblit strengthened the need to pass a bill that she and Likud MK Yariv Levin had proposed for increasing transparency.

Struck said that the resistance to “voluntarily” make matters more transparent, necessitated a legal obligation in the form of a new law.

Livni rejected Struck’s approach, saying that not all problems have to be fixed by formal legislation and that many issues, such as this one, are better dealt with through the flexibility of government decisions or executive regulations.

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