Attorney-General Gali Baharav-Miara decried pressure on her office and the legal system to conform to political agendas at a State Attorney's Office meeting on Tuesday, also saying that judicial reform bills threatened to give uncontrolled power to the government.
"Recently, the attacks on the law enforcement system and the gatekeepers in the country have increased," Baharav-Miara said in the meeting in which the office's multi-year plan was presented. "They attack our integrity as if we are biased for one side or the other; motivated by foreign considerations.
These allegations are outrageous and baseless. This is a cynical and blatant attempt to mar the legitimacy of the law enforcement system."
Under pressure to make certain decision
Baharav-Miara said that her office was under pressure to make certain decisions, both in the State Attorney's Office's investigations and managing of cases, and with the opinions of legal advisers.
"I will not be deterred," said Baharav-Miara. "I know that the state attorney is not deterred either."
The Attorney-General said that she would continue to work as they always had, consistently and fairly according to facts and the law.
"We will walk the straight path, which was built for us by many generations of giants of Israeli law, who played key roles in the judiciary, in the Attorney-General's Office and the State Attorney's Office," said Baharav-Miara. "We will continue to pave this way further forward -- through the law -- without fear, for future generations."
At the meeting, Baharav-Miara also issued a scathing analysis of the judicial reform bills.
'In recent months, bills have been introduced with the aim of profoundly changing the government structure of the State of Israel," said Baharav-Miara.
The Attorney-General's Office had examined the proposed changes and compared it to the existing system and those around the world, and presented them to the Justice Ministry and Knesset, said Baharav-Miara.
"Uncontrolled government power allows for infringement of individual rights and disregard for rule of law," said Baharav-Miara, sharing her main insights on the bills. "It paves the way for corruption of the civil service. The fundamental difficulty is that Israel doesn't have a system of checks and balances built into the law."
The courts provided institutional guarantees against the infringement of individual rights and abuses of governmental power, she said. One of the powers that provides these guarantees is judicial review. The restriction of judicial review has been a key component of the judicial reform.
Baharav-Miara said that it was too easy to make changes in Israel and remove the guarantees and tools used by the court. If removed, these powers needed to be replaced or an imbalance would be created.
The Attorney-General commented about the reasonableness standard bill currently being advanced in Knesset committee in preparation for final readings next week.
"Acting reasonably is a basic duty of the government in its relationship with the individual," said Baharav-Miara. "The bill does not present an alternative [institutional] guarantee, nor does it provide any answer to a series of sensitive issues in the activities of the executive branch."
Such sensitive issues included discriminatory conduct during an election period or appointments and dismissals of civil servants.
"The proposal creates a normative 'black hole.' A kind of 'immunity complex.' The damage of the bill is wider than the direct damage resulting from the appointment of a person who is unfit for a senior position or from the dismissal of a civil servant," said Baharav-Miara. "The cancellation of the duty of reasonableness of the government and its officials may result in situations where any decision of a civil servant in which he stands by his professional opinion against an elected official will also be his last decision."