Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee Chairman David Rotem (Israel Beiteinu) said Sunday that he had extended the period for MKs to apply for a lone seat on the committee that will choose the next attorney-general, and confirmed that he had withdrawn his own candidacy for the position.
The five-member selection panel is led by former Supreme Court justice Theodore Orr, and will include only one Knesset representative. Until now, only 10 candidates, including Rotem, had submitted their names for review and vote in the Law Committee, but Rotem told the The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that a number of lawmakers had complained that they had yet to submit their applications.
In response, Rotem extended the period in which MKs could submit applications until Rosh Hashana, almost two weeks away. Afterwards the committee will vote on the applicants.
Rotem said that he had withdrawn his name at the behest of Israel Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman, who told him to do so because of a possible conflict of interest. The current attorney-general, Menahem Mazuz, will finish his term of office in January, and Mazuz's replacement is likely to inherit the open case against Lieberman and decide whether or not to indict the foreign minister.
"This way nobody can say that I'm trying to create a convenient situation or appointment for Lieberman," explained Rotem.
Rotem emphasized that he had no personal preference regarding which legislator would fill the committee post, and that he would only choose which candidate to support after he saw the complete list of applicants. He did, however, emphasize that no Israel Beiteinu MK would run for the position, and that his faction would not get involved in the debate surrounding the selection process.
The often outspoken Rotem said he would not oppose an attorney-general who held left-wing political beliefs as long as the candidate was "honest, a good attorney and someone who knows how to work. But I would not base my support on their political ideology."
"This is not a question of Left and Right," added Rotem. "I want to know that any candidate would make decisions properly."
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