Menachem Finklestein appointed as new justice ministry oversight czar

Previously, Finklestein served as Central District Court deputy president, IDF Military Advocate General, and IDF Appeals Court deputy president.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar at the vote for the 2021 State Budget, November 3, 2021 (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar at the vote for the 2021 State Budget, November 3, 2021
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar on Sunday announced the appointment of Menachem Finklestein as the next Justice Ministry oversight czar, replacing David Rozen.

Although Rozen steps down on January 1, 2022, Finklestein will not take over until some months later, with the current deputy of the office, Liad Meir Tzadar filling in the gap.

Currently, Finklestein is chairing the state inquiry into the Gilboa Prison break, so Sa’ar recognized he would not be able to start his new role, which runs for a five-year term, until that probe concludes.

Previously, Finklestein served as Central District Court deputy president, IDF Military Advocate General, and IDF Appeals Court deputy president.

The existence of the oversight czar is often cited by top prosecution officials against allegations by some politicians that there is "no gatekeeper to police the gatekeepers."

Yifat Shasha-Biton, Ze’ev Elkin and Gideon Sa'ar at a cabinet meeting on July 11, 2021. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)Yifat Shasha-Biton, Ze’ev Elkin and Gideon Sa'ar at a cabinet meeting on July 11, 2021. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Rozen is the second watchdog for the Justice Ministry, but the first to serve out a five-year term, given that Hila Gerstl's term was shorter and plagued by acrimony with the heads of the prosecution. 

In contrast, Rozen, who served as the district court judge who convicted former prime minister Ehud Olmert in the Holyland trial, found a way both to critique the prosecution while working in harmony with the prosecutorial leadership.