Anti-judicial reform protest groups and opposition political leaders rallied around Attorney-General Gali Baharav-Miara on Monday in response to calls in the Sunday cabinet meeting to fire her and fear that the next component of the judicial reform will focus on restricting government legal advisers. Anti-reform protests took place outside her home on Monday.
Opposition leader Yair Lapid on Monday said the cabinet meeting in which Baharav-Miara was castigated for not allowing more enforcement measures against reform protesters was a “violent attack” against the official and the state because ministers called for more violence against demonstrators.
National Unity Party chairman Benny Gantz said the coalition was preparing the ground for the firing of Baharav-Miara and that the cabinet meeting was like a preliminary hearing on the matter.
“If the legal adviser is fired because she did not suppress protests against the government, it will be a democratic bankruptcy,” he said.
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was seeking to pressure Baharav-Miara into resigning.
Newly elected Israel Bar Association head Amit Becher, who has been a vocal critic of judicial reform, said his organization opposed the attacks on the attorney-general by joining anti-reform protests on Tuesday.
“The legal community supports the hand of the attorney-general to continue acting professionally and independently for the rule of law and fundamental rights,” he said.
Protest groups came out in support of Baharav-Miara, saying an attack on her was an attack on Israeli rule of law and democracy.
“There is no democracy without an attorney-general,” said the 8200 protest, which consists of alumni from the IDF’s 8200 Signal Intelligence Unit.
Netanyahu says he's not looking to fire the Attorney-General
Government officials denied that the coalition was actually calling for Baharav-Miara to be fired. Netanyahu rejected statements by cabinet members that expressed that sentiment. The Likud on Sunday said the firing of the attorney-general was not the objective.
After the Knesset recess, there would be no push to legislate on the role of government legal advisers, but there will be a renewed version of the Judicial Selection Committee, government officials said.
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich (Religious Zionist Party) on Sunday said the answer to Baharav-Miara’s failure to indict enough protesters was legislation.
A private member’s bill submitted by Likud MK Avihai Boaron is currently going through the Knesset legislative process. In line with proposals by Justice Minister Yariv Levin (Likud) at the beginning of the year, the bill would make the opinions of government legal advisers nonbinding. The bill also would see the advisers appointed by a Knesset committee rather than the Attorney-General’s Office.
At the cabinet meeting on Sunday that focused on selective law enforcement pertaining to reform protests, Transportation Minister Miri Regev (Likud) questioned the role of the attorney-general and whether she was able to decide everything herself and not support the government function. This being the case, Regev proposed that perhaps she should be fired.
Levin and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir (Otzma Yehudit) were highly critical of Baharav-Miara and her office. They said the Attorney-General’s Office was operating in favor of the protesters by issuing very few indictments.