Ayelet Shaked holds introductory press conference at the Justice Ministry in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: NOAM MOSKOVICH)
Still relatively new to her job, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked wasted no time racking up her first major accomplishment, announcing on Monday at least a temporary end to the 43-day strike by state prosecutors over the establishment of a new body to oversee their conduct.
The prosecutors had said the oversight body would help politicians pressure them not to prosecute corruption and generally reduce their independence and impartiality.
A union of state prosecutors had been prepared to accept general criticism of particular district attorney’s offices, but not specific criticisms of individual prosecutors.
The strike meant a refusal by rank and file state prosecutors to cooperate with the office as it performed its oversight and filed its first reports, including its most recent April report.
It also meant that work on certain cases was delayed or halted, though legal activity in certain categories of emergency cases, such as hearings on whether to keep people under arrest in detention, continued.
Shaked’s compromise started with the appointment of former Representative for Public Complaints Against Judges and former Supreme Court justice Eliezer Goldberg as a mediator accepted by both the oversight body and Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein, who helped spearhead the oversight body, and the union of state prosecutors.
Next, Shaked obtained the prosecutors’ agreement to cease their strike for the next two months at least.
During that period, the oversight body agreed not to evaluate or critique individual prosecutors, and to address only district attorney’s offices as a whole.
At the end of the two months, Goldberg is due to propose a solution to Shaked and the other parties.
While the announcement does not guarantee the strike will not be reinstated in two months, knowledgeable parties say it signals Shaked’s political influence as a justice minister coming with deep political capital, which various involved officials had expected might break the logjam.
It also may signal that the prosecutors realize they are running out of options, with various politicians, including another lead player in creating the oversight body, former justice minister Tzipi Livni, implying a readiness to pass a law that would force the prosecutors to cooperate with the new body.
The oversight body is headed by former Central District Court judge Hila Gerstl.
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