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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss, in his capacity as ombudsman, called on Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On on Tuesday to make no change to the status of Accountant-General Yaron Zelekha for the time being. Zelekha's four-year contract ends next month.
"In [Lindenstrauss'] opinion, it would be proper not to take any action that would change the existing situation until he makes his decision, which will be shortly," the head of his office, Hillel Shamgar, wrote on Tuesday.
Lindenstrauss has to decide whether Bar-On is trying to punish Zelekha because he is a whistle-blower who has uncovered corruption on the part of his superiors.
On August 29, Bar-On announced that he would not renew Zelekha's contract when it expires on October 19. Zelekha and his supporters interpreted Bar-On's move as a decision to fire the accountant-general, even though he does not have tenure and his contract is due to come to an end.
They have argued that Bar-On wanted to get rid of Zelekha because he testified against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in the Bank Leumi tender affair, which is currently under criminal investigation.
Two of the accountant-general's backers, MKs Shelly Yacimovich (Labor) and Arye Eldad (National Union-National Religious Party) have submitted a formal request to Lindenstrauss to protect Zelekha on the grounds that he is indeed a whistle-blower.
Lindenstrauss wrote to Bar-On about the details of the complaint submitted by the two MKs and asked for his response to the allegations.
Bar-On's reply reached Lindenstrauss on Tuesday. The ombudsman immediately wrote back, confirming that he had received the letter and would study it in the coming days. Until then, he continued, he urged Bar-On not to do anything to change the status quo regarding Zelekha.