(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday voted down a proposal to slash the cooling-off period for high-ranking security officers before entering politics.
The existing law states that the heads of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) the Mossad and the Prisons Service, IDF officers ranking major-general or higher, and police officers ranking assistant-chief or higher must wait three years after leaving his or her position before running for the Knesset or being appointed as a minister.
MK Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid), a major-general in the IDF reserves, had proposed cutting the waiting period to 20 months.
The bill also called for counting officers’ “discharge vacation,” in which they are technically considered serving but have already been replaced in their job, as part of the cooling-off period.
According to the bill’s explanatory section, the waiting period “prevents a group of quality public servants from integrating in politics, representing and serving the public and exceeds other cooling-off periods in the law in other areas, such as 100 days for senior civil servants.”
A similar initiative submitted last year by Yesh Atid MK Yaakov Peri and rejected by the ministerial committee was nicknamed the “Gantz Bill” after former IDF chief of staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Benny Gantz and was seen as a way to help him enter politics sooner.
In 2007, the cooling-off period was raised from six months to three years.
That change was seen as aimed at keeping former IDF chief of staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Dan Halutz from entering politics.