Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The race for the next attorney-general moved another step forward on Monday as the Knesset Constitution Law and Justice Committee announced that it will select its representative on the powerful five-member selection committee on Wednesday.
The nominees for the position are committee chairman Nissan Slomiansky (Bayit Yehudi), MK Nurit Koren (Likud), MK Eli Alalouf (Kulanu), Mk Karin Elharar (Yesh Atid) and MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) after the deadline was extended to 9 p.m. on Monday night.
Before the extension was granted, Koren had not been able to enter the nomination race as she had missed the deadline. She is Prime Minister Netanyahu’s favorite for the position.
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein is slated to step down in January and the state’s various political power centers have been maneuvering for influence on the committee that will select his successor.
Some have called the attorney-general the most powerful office in Israel, since it can intervene in almost any government decision and once it declares an action illegal or vetoes a candidate for a high office, even the prime minister almost always falls into line behind the decision.
The panel will be led by former Supreme Court president Asher D. Grunis, as the representative of the Supreme Court.
There have been rumblings for several weeks that former justice minister Moshe Nissim will be the government’s representative on the panel after an agreement between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked was reached to that effect.
Despite multiple indications from Shaked’s office that Nissim would be confirmed two weeks ago or last week, there may be a delay on his appointment.
This has arisen because the NGO Ometz objected to the appointment, claiming that Nissim has a conflict of interest in selecting the government’s top lawyer since his law firm represents the government extensively.
The Knesset committee’s representative is the other high-powered pick on the panel.
The other two positions are filled by a representative of the Israel Bar Association and a legal scholar representative from academia.
Four of the five members of the panel must vote for a candidate in order to be chosen.
The expected candidates for attorney- general are: cabinet-secretary Avichai Mandelblit, Justice Ministry oversight czar Hila Gristol, deputy attorneys- general Dena Zilber, Raz Nizri and Avi Licht, and Defense Ministry legal adviser Ahaz Ben Ari.Lahav Harkov contributed to this report