(photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)
Former environmental minister Avi Gabbay on Wednesday asked the High Court of Justice to drop the three-year cooling-off period required of security chiefs before entering politics.
Although a wide range of other civil servants are only precluded from entering politics for one year, the IDF chief of staff, Mossad director, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief and a range of other top security and law enforcement officials are so precluded for three years.
Gabbay, who recently joined the Zionist Union party having resigned from Kulanu, said that as he recruits talent to enter politics he has been frustrated by the fact that many top potential candidates for public office are precluded by the cooling-off-period law.
He claimed the law is anti-competition, anti-democratic and designed solely to save current politicians seats from competition from some of the most qualified potential candidates in the country.
Proponents of the law say it defends democracy by making sure there is a clear break between serving in the security establishment and the political echelon so the security chiefs cannot overtake their civil leader such as occurs in non-democratic countries.
Despite that justification, many have argued that three years is too long.