New A-G Baharav-Miara: I will restore public faith after police spying scandal

Attorney-General Gali Baharav-Miara said she approaches her new office “with a heavy sense of responsibility and knowledge of the importance of her mission.”

 Israel's new Attorney-General Gali Baharav-Miara is seen at her inauguration. (photo credit: NATAN WEIL/GPO)
Israel's new Attorney-General Gali Baharav-Miara is seen at her inauguration.
(photo credit: NATAN WEIL/GPO)

In her inauguration ceremony on Tuesday, incoming Attorney-General Gali Baharav-Miara said she will make restoring the public’s faith in her office, and in law enforcement more broadly, her top goal following the police spying scandal that has shaken the country in recent weeks.

Baharav-Miara said a return to public service after more than 30 years in the Justice Ministry, but with the last six years in the private sector, has given her a new and wider perspective.

She was approaching her new office “with a heavy sense of responsibility and knowledge of the importance of the mission,” Baharav-Miara said.

She said she would protect “the rule of law and the public’s faith in the rule of law,” but the public’s faith was her first focus at this juncture.

“The drop in the public’s faith in the Attorney-General’s Office and law enforcement is worrying,” she said.

 FORMER POLICE chief Roni Alsheikh, during whose term the police were said to have increased the use of NSO-style spyware. (credit: THOMAS COEX/AFP via GETTY IMAGES) FORMER POLICE chief Roni Alsheikh, during whose term the police were said to have increased the use of NSO-style spyware. (credit: THOMAS COEX/AFP via GETTY IMAGES)

“One can blame lots of factors, [but] we cannot only blame outsiders,” Baharav-Miara said, adding that the system needed to judge and evaluate its own conduct.

Confirming Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar’s worldview of the role of an attorney-general, she said in her legal adviser capacity, her office’s job would be to implement government policy, not to challenge it.

At the same time, her rulings on any action the government might want to take that could be illegal would be binding unless and until a court ruled differently, she said.

Baharav-Miara did not comment on Sa’ar’s mission of splitting her office’s powers so that the attorney-general would be less involved in prosecutions, especially of ministers. However, it is widely assumed that she received Sa’ar’s support based on an understanding between the two on this issue.