lador court 370.
(photo credit: Melanie Lidman)
The appointments committee for naming the next state attorney was set to choose
among four candidates to succeed Moshe Lador late Monday night.
head of the state prosecution, is due to step down in December after finishing
his six-year term, with his replacement also receiving a six-year
The committee interviewed the final candidates on Monday: Deputy
Attorney-General for Special Matters Shai Nitzan, former deputy state attorney
Yehoshua Lemberger, Jerusalem District Court Judge Zvi Segal and Tel Aviv
District Court Judge Avi Zamir.
Nitzan and Lemberger were considered the
favorites as “in-house” candidates from the Justice Ministry, as opposed to the
Technically, the government gives the final approval for the
next state attorney, but the committee’s recommendation is essentially
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein chairs the committee.
four other members are: Justice Ministry director-general Guy Rothkof, the head
representative for state service Moshe Dayan, academic representative
Ariel Bendor and Israel Bar Association representative Rahel
The media has speculated, at times based on unclear and always
anonymous sources, that Nitzan is the state attorney in waiting because he is
Weinstein’s choice and that Rothkof and Dayan will vote with Weinstein, with
Toran following suit if that occurs.
A four to one vote is required as a
minimum super majority for the appointment.
The same anonymous
speculation has argued that Lemberger would be Lador’s chosen replacement and
that some of Weinstein’s leaning comes from rewarding Nitzan for loyalty as
being one of his “right-hand men,” while not wanting a Lador loyalist in the top
legal position right below him in light of what many have called a fractious
relationship between him and Lador.
The speculating reports has tended to
ignore the fact that Lemberger sided with Weinstein over Lador on the crucial
decision of closing the multi-million dollar money laundering “big case” against
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, only indicting him in the smaller Belarusan
Ambassador Affair in which he was recently acquitted.
It has also
appeared that various right-wing groups were trying to undermine Nitzan’s
candidacy, with a last-minute complaint filed at the end of October with the
police about a potential conflict of interest in the use of his powers from
several years ago.
The police reportedly said the substance of the
complaint was insufficient to open an investigation.
Another attempt to
influence the process was a complaint to remove Weinstein from the committee, on
the grounds that Lemberger had general responsibility for the department that
brought charges against Weinstein’s wife for employing an illegal
The government’s heads of ethics on the issue dismissed the
request, noting that Lemberger had removed himself from making any decisions
relating to the issue and that Weinstein had not been accused of anything
improper during the proceedings.
Also, some NGOs known to oppose Nitzan
called for the committee to present the government with two candidates and to
let the government decide, in an effort to remove what they called an appearance
of a rigged process in favor of Nitzan.
Many on the Right take issue with
Nitzan as he ordered indictments against right-wing activists for various
illegal activities on a number of occasions and took a hard stance on questions
of incitement against Arabs.
Lemberger is less wellknown than Nitzan in
the public sphere, but spent more time in the Justice Ministry on typical
criminal law matters, whereas Nitzan dealt with some of the above political
issues, led parts of the state’s efforts against the UN’s Goldstone Report and
delegitimization issues and has represented the state on issues of balancing
security and law before the Knesset and the High Court of Justice.